Wednesday, February 19, 2014

More Scandal Over Air Freight and Shipping Groups Brews After Prior Cartel Corruption

Raids in Europe and the Far East on Two Major Logistics Related Companies
Shipping News Feature

GERMANY – SOUTH KOREA – Prosecutors around the world have been busy this week after German investigators raided the offices of air freight carrier Lufthansa Cargo in connection with a bribery probe, whilst prosecutors in South Korea raided the offices of the ailing shipbuilding and shipping conglomerate STX Group and its affiliates over allegations of corruption.

First over in Germany, a spokeswoman from the Frankfurt prosecution’s office said that including the Lufthansa Cargo headquarters, around 17 premises, both business and residential, were searched on Tuesday 18 February, as part of an ongoing investigation centred around the action of 5 people in particular, one of whom acts in a managerial capacity at the airline. Lufthansa say they are cooperating fully with the authorities.

Of course, this isn’t the first time Lufthansa Cargo has been embroiled heavily in legal matters, specifically the huge multidistrict air cargo cartel litigation which has seen a multitude of cargo carriers fined tremendous amounts for price-fixing. For the most part, Lufthansa Cargo and its parent company Deutsche Lufthansa have been let off with no penalty as it was this company which triggered the legal proceedings by self-denunciation, thereby gaining complete immunity from sanctions.

Now to South Korea, where on Monday 17 February, prosecution investigators stormed the offices of the financially struggling STX Group (formerly Ssangyong Heavy Industries) seizing computer hard drives and confidential documents from the group's multiple premises, including its headquarters in Seoul. An investigator at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors Office said that ‘the raid was conducted after the company requested the investigation regarding inside corruption’. STX has interests both in shipbuilding and shipping plus other trade areas.