Panasonic have pleaded guilty to charges that they conspired to fix prices in two major markets, laptop battery packs and auto parts, of course we are a little more interested in the battery scandal than we are the car parts but it is still good to see that justice caught up with people who have been effectively ripping people off for years.
The US government has stuck a whopping fine of $56.5 million on Panasonic for the two conspiracies, while 15 executives across several companies will be serving jail time for the crimes committed, and since some parts of the price-fixing stem back 15 years, we can only assume they may be getting locked up for quite some time.
Panasonic have been ripping off auto manufacturers for 15 years by working with other companies to inflate prices in a bid to “fix, stabilize, and maintain the prices” of lighting equipment that was sold to companies such as Honda, Mazda and Nissan.
SANYO Electric, which is owned by Panasonic since an acquisition in 2009 was also charged with working with LG Chem to price fix cylindrical lithium-ion battery packs that are used globally for laptop computers, although it is unclear at this time which models were effected.
“The conduct of Panasonic, SANYO, and LG Chem resulted in inflated production costs for notebook computers and cars purchased by U.S. consumers,” said Joseph S. Campbell, an FBI official involved in the investigation, in a statement released Friday by the Justice Department.
This is a win for consumers and while we may have lost out in the past, this is one scam that has been brought to an end.