A Whirlpool Corp. subsidiary has agreed to plead guilty to a price-fixing scheme involving refrigerant compressors, the U.S. Justice Department announced on Sept. 30. Whirlpool unit Embraco North America, based in Delaware, along with Panasonic, a Japanese Corp., admitted they participated in an international conspiracy to fix prices of refrigerant compressors used in refrigerators and freezers sold to homes and businesses.
The Justice Department said the conspiracy took place from at least October 2004 until about December 2007. According to the plea agreements, both companies will cooperate with an ongoing investigation of other co-conspirators that exchanged information, monitored and enforced the agreed-upon prices.
After pleading guilty to separate-one count felony charges in U.S. District Court in Phoenix, Whirlpool’s Embraco unit has agreed to pay a $91.8 million criminal fine, and Panasonic will pay a $49.1 million criminal fine.