U.S. DOJ: First Guilty Plea in RO-RO Price Fixing Scandal

marinelink.com
Friday, February 28, 2014

South American Company Agrees to Plead Guilty to Price Fixing on Ocean Shipping Services for Cars and Trucks. First Charges in the Department’s Antitrust Investigation Involving Ocean Shipping Services; Conspiracy Affected Global Cargo Shipments, Including at Port of Baltimore.

Compañía Sud Americana de Vapores S.A. (CSAV), a Chilean corporation, has agreed to plead guilty and to pay an $8.9 million criminal fine for its involvement in a conspiracy to fix prices, allocate customers and rig bids of international ocean shipping services for roll-on, roll-off cargo, such as cars and trucks, to and from the United States and elsewhere, the Department of Justice announced today.

According to a one-count felony charge filed today in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland in Baltimore, CSAV engaged in a conspiracy to suppress and eliminate competition by allocating customers and routes, rigging bids and fixing prices for the sale of international ocean shipping services of roll-on, roll-off cargo to and from the United States and elsewhere, including the Port of Baltimore.  CSAV participated in the conspiracy from at least January 2000 to September 2012.  CSAV has also agreed to cooperate with the department’s ongoing antitrust investigation.  The plea agreement is subject to court approval.

Roll-on, roll-off cargo is non-containerized cargo that can be both rolled onto and rolled off of an ocean-going vessel.  Examples of this cargo include new and used cars and trucks, as well as construction, mining and agricultural equipment.

“Today’s charges are the first to be filed in the Antitrust Division’s investigation into bid rigging and price fixing of ocean shipping services,” said Bill Baer, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division.  “Because of the growth in the automobile ocean shipping industry over the past 40 years, the conspiracy substantially affected interstate and foreign commerce.  Prosecuting international price-fixing conspiracies remains a top priority for the division."

According to the charge, CSAV and its co-conspirators carried out the conspiracy by, among other things, agreeing – during meetings and communications – on prices, allocating customers, agreeing to refrain from bidding against one another and exchanging customer pricing information.  The department said the companies then charged fees in accordance with those agreements for international ocean shipping services for certain roll-on, roll-off cargo to and from the United States and elsewhere at collusive and non-competitive prices.

CSAV is charged with price fixing in violation of the Sherman Act, which carries a maximum penalty of a $100 million criminal fine for corporations.  The maximum fine may be increased to twice the gain derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by the victims of the crime, if either of those amounts is greater than the statutory maximum fine.

Today’s charge is the result of an ongoing federal antitrust investigation into price fixing, bid rigging, and other anticompetitive conduct in the international ocean shipping industry, which is being conducted by the Antitrust Division’s National Criminal Enforcement Section and the FBI’s Baltimore Field Office, along with assistance from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Internal Affairs, Washington Field Office/Special Investigations Unit.   Anyone with information in connection with this investigation is urged to call the Antitrust Division’s National Criminal Enforcement Section at 202-307-6694, visit www.justice.gov/atr/contact/newcase.html, or call the FBI’s Baltimore Field Office at 410-265-8080.

Maritime Reporter March 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Legal

Ex-BP Employee Settles Insider-trading Oil Spill Case

A former 20-year veteran of BP plc who oversaw the company's cleanup efforts from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill will pay more than $224,000 to settle civil charges

Somali Pirate Sentenced to 12 Years by German Court

A German court sentenced a Somali asylum-seeker to 12 years in jail on Thursday, for his involvement in the pirate hijacking of a tanker in the Indian Ocean in 2010.

DHL Expects Immunity in Price Fixing Investigation

Deutsche Post expects its DHL forwarding business to be granted immunity from prosecution and fines by Singapore antitrust authorities, who are investigating 11 companies for alleged price fixing,

Ports

Canaveral Tops State List for Sand Bypass Funding

The Canaveral Harbor Inlet Sand Bypass Project has earned the top state ranking for 2014/15 inlet management funding. As a result, Port Canaveral is expected to receive $100,

Rotterdam port's throughput almost stable

The Port of Rotterdam’s throughput in the first quarter of 2014, at 109 million tonnes, was 0.2% below the level for the corresponding period last year.Split up by goods type,

CMA CGM Strengthens Madagascar Presence

Since the creation of CMA CGM Madagascar in 2003, container shipping company CMA CGM Group has continued to develop on the island to move closer to its valued customers

Finance

Canaveral Tops State List for Sand Bypass Funding

The Canaveral Harbor Inlet Sand Bypass Project has earned the top state ranking for 2014/15 inlet management funding. As a result, Port Canaveral is expected to receive $100,

Rotterdam port's throughput almost stable

The Port of Rotterdam’s throughput in the first quarter of 2014, at 109 million tonnes, was 0.2% below the level for the corresponding period last year.Split up by goods type,

PetroVietNam Gas's Q1 gross profit falls 27.5%

PetroVietNam Gas's first-quarter gross profit fell 27.5 percent to 3.9 trillion dong ($185 million) from a year earlier, the Lao Dong (Labour) newspaper reported.

Government Update

Obama Offers US Aid to S.Korea Following Ferry Accident

U.S. President Barack Obama on Thursday expressed condolences to the families of the victims of the South Korean ferry sinking and said the U.S. military will provide

S.Korean Ferry Master Faces Investigation

The captain of the South Korean ferry that capsized off the southwest coast was facing a criminal investigation on Thursday, an official said, amid unconfirmed

Divers Struggle in Search for Ferry Survivors

Rescuers struggle with waves, murky waters; Captain faces charge of abandoning South Korean ferry. About 290 people still missing, many of them teenagers. Rescuers

Logistics

Inchcape Shipping Services Opens in Venezuela

Inchcape Shipping Services (ISS), the world’s leading maritime services provider, has expanded its network in Central and South America with the opening of ISS Venezuela in Puerto La Cruz,

Blackstone Unlikely to Enter Commodities Trade

Blackstone exec doesn't expect move into commodities in near term Blackstone Group LP is unlikely to make a foray into commodity trading in the short term as

Cargill to Buy 100,000mt of Certified Ivorian Cocoa

U.S. agribusiness trader Cargill aims to purchase 100,000 metric tons of certified Ivorian cocoa this season, up slightly from 95,000 metric tons last season, West

 
 
Maritime Security Naval Architecture Navigation Offshore Oil Pipelines Port Authority Ship Electronics Ship Repair Ship Simulators Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1117 sec (9 req/sec)