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An investigation is currently underway regarding a cross-continent auto-parts price fixing operation involving the authorities of Australia, United States, Europe and Japan.
These companies have supplied parts to both automakers and aftermarket companies in immense volumes that caused a certain government official to even declare that this investigation is the largest probe in U.S. history. A total of 20 automotive suppliers are under scrutiny although it is believed that the scope of the investigation is much greater. Selective companies that have been identified are publicly traded and, by law, must disclose involvement in the investigation to shareholders. However, private companies are not obligated to do the same.
Furukawa Electric Company of Japan is currently the first and only company to be convicted of price fixing in the investigation. Given a $200 million USD fine, three of Furukawa’s U.S. based execs face criminal charges and incarceration. Subpoenas have been handed down for raids against 19 suppliers over six supply sectors.
Khalid Ouazzani, a Moroccan-born U.S. citizen who owned a Kansas City auto parts store, was convicted this week of sending money to help the al-Qaida terrorist network, and its operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia, using funds from his business to help the group.
Ouazzani was initially arrested on 33 counts but ended up pleading guilty to one count of bank fraud, one count of money laundering and one count of conspiracy to provide material support to a terrorist organization. Ouazzani became a citizen in 2006, and used a line of credit obtained in 2007 to funnel money to al-Qaida. Ouazzani used most of the $175,000 loan to finance an apartment in the United Arab Emirates, which was then sold at a profit. The proceeds of the sale were then sent on to the terrorist network.
Despite the severity of his crimes, U.S. Attorney Beth Phillips said that “At no point prior to his arrest was he any threat to cause imminent harm or danger to the citizens of our community [Kansas City, Missouri].”
[Source: Left Lane News]