The DOJ said last week it collected $1.86 billion in criminal fines and penalties from antitrust prosecutions during the fiscal year that ended September 30, 2014.
Five companies paid penalties of more than $100 million each, including a $425 million criminal fine levied against Bridgestone Corp., the fourth biggest fine the DOJ antitrust division has ever collected.
The second biggest criminal antitrust enforcement fine collected in FY2014 was $195 million from Hitachi Automotive Systems Ltd.
Three other companies paid fines and penalties of more than $100 million — Mitsubishi Electric Corp. with $190 million, Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd. with $120 million, and JTEKT Corp. with $103.2 million.
The antitrust collection total also includes $561 million in penalties assessed in connection with the LIBOR investigation. It was a joint enforcement by the DOJ’s antitrust and criminal divisions.
During FY2014, 21 individual antitrust defendants were sentenced to prison, with an average sentence of 26 months.
“The size of these penalties is an unfortunate reminder of the powerful temptation to cheat the American consumer and profit from collusion,” DOJ antitrust division chief Bill Baer said.
“We remain committed to ensuring that corporations and individuals who collude face serious consequences for their crimes,” Baer said.
In the DOJ’s ongoing investigation of the auto parts industry alone, 50 individuals have been charged with price fixing and bid rigging. Thirty-three companies have pleaded guilty in the case and agreed to pay more than $2.4 billion in fines.
Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.