NetComposites
Attwater

Japanese Carbon Fiber Firm Indicted

28 March 2002

A federal grand jury indicted Toho Tenax Co. Ltd. and Toho Carbon Fibers Inc for obstruction of justice related to a price-fixing probe.

The one-count felony indictment accuses Toho Tenax Co. Ltd. of Tokyo; its American subsidiary, Toho Carbon Fibers Inc., and Jinnosuke Takeda, a Toho executive in Japan, of concealing incriminating documents that had been subpoenaed. A federal grand jury investigating possible violations of the Sherman Antitrust Act subpoenaed the documents in January 1999.

Officials at Toho Carbon Fibers, which is based in Menlo Park, declined to comment on the indictment. The indictment charges that incriminating documents were secretly removed from the Menlo Park headquarters of Toho USA and sent to the headquarters of Toho Japan in Tokyo to prevent the grand jury from receiving them. The documents were later discovered by Japanese law enforcement agents who found them during a search of Toho Japan offices.

”The (Department of Justice) will proceed aggressively against those who seek to impede antitrust investigations focused on protecting American consumers,” said Charles A. James, assistant attorney general in charge of the department's antitrust division. Tokyo prosecutors in March 2000 raided three major Japanese textile makers, including Toho, Toray Industries Inc. and Mitsubishi Rayon Co. The three companies produce a combined 70 percent of the world's carbon fibers annually.

Obstruction of justice carries a maximum penalty of a $500,000 fine for corporations and 10 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine for individuals.