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Bridgestone Corp. agreed to pay a $425 million fine and pleaded guilty to conspiring to fix prices of rubber car parts. The Japanese tire and rubber maker's plea is the latest settlement to come from the largest Justice Department price-fixing probe ever: an investigation of the auto parts industry that has led to admissions of collusion in the market for components including fuel injectors, air conditioners and windshield wipers. The company said it won't pay some executives and board members the bonuses they were set to receive in March. Bridgestone also will cut some salaries and discipline employees. Between 2001 and 2008, Bridgestone met with competitors and agreed to split up the market for rubber parts that are installed throughout vehicles to reduce vibrations, the Justice Department said. The companies then submitted false bids with inflated prices in response to requests for proposals from auto makers including Toyota Motor Corp. and Nissan Motor Corp. , ensuring that particular suppliers won particular pieces of business. Bridgestone's $425 million fine is one of the largest paid by a company caught up in the investigation. So far, 26 suppliers have pleaded guilty and paid more than $2 billion in penalties. The Justice Department has charged 28 people. In 2011, Bridgestone pleaded guilty to conspiring to fix prices for marine hoses and other equipment. At the time, it agreed to cooperate with investigators and in return received a reduced penalty. But the Justice Department said the company didn't disclose the collusion in the anti-vibration parts business. That led to an increased penalty this time.

If some executives and board members were aware of the attempt to fix prices, should they be punished beyond not receiving bonuses and decreases in salary? Why or Why Not?



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