Sunday, June 12, 2016

Another Shipping Executive Charged as Cartel and Antitrust Ocean Freight Scandal Continues

This Time it's the RoRo Sector in the Americas
Shipping News Feature
US – CHILE – Antitrust and cartel activity has been a blight on air and sea shipping in the past decade and now another ocean freight executive has been indicted for his participation in a long-running price-fixing conspiracy to restrain trade in international ocean shipments of roll on – roll off cargo. Mauricio Javier Garrido Garcia an Executive of Compañia Sudamericana de Vapores S.A. (CSAV) and resident of Chile, has been charged with allocating customers and routes, rigging bids and fixing prices for international ocean shipments of RoRo cargo, including cars, trucks and construction and agriculture equipment, to and from the US. Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Renata B. Hesse, head of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division, said:

“This long-running conspiracy restrained trade in one of the main channels of international commerce – the oceans. [This] indictment further demonstrates the division’s commitment to holding accountable ocean-shipping executives who participated in this scheme.”

Garrido is accused of participating in the conspiracy from as early as 2000 until at least September 2012, and is the eighth Executive to be charged in the investigation to date. Four individuals have already pleaded guilty and been sentenced to prison and three others have been indicted but remain ‘fugitives from justice’. CSAV and two other companies, Japanese shipping firms Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK) and Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K Line) have also pleaded guilty and paid over $136 million in criminal fines. Special Agent in Charge Kevin Perkins of the FBI’s Baltimore Division, said:

“These charges, and for the prior seven executives charged, outline a deceptive scheme to destabilise competition in the marketplace. Those who engage in this type of criminal activity with the intent on corrupting our economy will be identified and brought to justice. To ensure we don’t erode the public’s trust in the competitive bidding process, the FBI will continue to work with the Antitrust Division to ensure the integrity of competition across all industries.”

CSAV were fined almost half a million dollars by Chinese authorities recently for similar activities in a case which saw the Chilean company let off with no penalty by the regulators in the company’s native land.

N.B. To see just how many of this type of case has appeared in the past few years simply type a suitable keyword such as cartel or antitrust into the News Search box at the head of the page.