Ex-Morgan executives plead guilty

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The US Justice Department said yesterday two former executives at Britain's Morgan Crucible have agreed to plead guilty in connection with an inquiry into price fixing of carbon products sold around the world.

Jacobus Johan Anton Kroef, who headed a company unit, was accused of witness tampering, while Scott Brown, who worked in Morgan's US subsidiary, was charged with aiding and abetting in the destruction of documents, according to the US agency.

The Justice Department also said that a grand jury in Philadelphia had indicted the company's former chief executive, Ian Norris, and a former marketing employee, Robin Emerson, for conspiracy to obstruct justice and persuading others to destroy or hide documents that could be used by the grand jury.

A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment on the whereabouts of the accused and attempts to locate the individuals or their lawyers were not immediately successful.

Mr Norris resigned as chief executive almost a year ago, suffering from cancer. The company makes items ranging from magnets for computer disk drives to ceramics for medical implants.

Morgan and its US subsidiary Morganite Inc agreed in November to plead guilty to charges of price fixing and pay $11m. The Justice Department had charged that the US unit was part of a cartel to fix the price of electrical equipment, including carbon brushes used in direct current motors.

The parent company was charged with attempting to obstruct the investigation.