Hitachi Chemical Co. agreed to plead guilty to conspiring between 2002 and 2010 to fix the prices of electrolytic capacitors used in TVs, DVD players, computers and gaming systems, according to the U.S. Justice Department.
A single count charge was filed against the company Wednesday in federal court in San Francisco. The felony count alleges that Hitachi conspired with competitors, that allegedly operated the conspiracy between 1997 and 2014.
On January 21, 2016, NEC Tokin Corp. pled guilty to participating in the same worldwide conspiracy from 2002 to 2013 and was sentenced to pay nearly $14 million in fines.
The government alleges the conspirators met in China, Germany, Japan, Singapore, Taiwan and the United States to discuss prices and bids of capacitors and monitored information on prices.
The capacitors, also called condensers, are a fundamental component of electrical circuits and are used to store and regulate electrical current. Along with computers they are found in flat-screen TVs, digital cameras, car engine and airbag systems, home appliances and office equipment.
“Hitachi Chemical subsidiaries and co-conspirators fixed the prices of capacitors, a fundamental component of widely used electronic products,” said Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brent Snyder.
Case: U.S. v. Hitachi, No. 16-CR-180