Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Two Guilty in Latest Freight Forwarding Antitrust Case After Rates Fixing with Logistics Competitors

Dip Ship Senior Executives Fined
Shipping News Feature
US – Following our report in July that the US Department of Justice had arrested two freight forwarding executives alleged to have illegally agreed freight rates with other logistics competitors comes the news that the pair, Roberto Dip and Jason Handal, have both pleaded guilty for their roles in orchestrating a nationwide conspiracy to fix prices for international freight forwarding services, marking the first convictions in this antitrust investigation.

Dip and Handal were charged in the Eastern District of Louisiana on October 16, 2018, and the case was later transferred to the Southern District of Florida, where Dip and Handal entered their guilty pleas. Dip, a citizen of Honduras, is the President and CEO of a Louisiana-based freight forwarding company, Dip Shipping, and Handal, a US citizen, is the company’s Manager. The pair are alleged to have conspired with their competitors to fix the prices for freight forwarding services provided in the United States and elsewhere from at least as early as September 2010 until at least March 2015.

In addition to their guilty pleas, Dip and Handal have agreed to pay a criminal fine and cooperate with the ongoing investigation. Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division, said:

“Through these plea agreements, the Antitrust Division and the FBI hold accountable two senior executives who conspired to cheat American customers. The Antitrust Division will continue to work with its law enforcement partners to prosecute individuals who target consumers in vital international industries.”

Dip and Handal stood accused of meeting with conspirators to discuss and agree to raise prices charged to US customers, to be implemented by establishing ‘commissions’ in port cities throughout the United States, to coordinate and agree on the specific rates charged to customers in each port. According to the affidavit, this conduct is memorialised in emails and other documents. Emails allegedly show that Dip and Handal were aware that their conduct was in violation of US antitrust laws and that they instructed co-conspirators to avoid leaving written evidence of their conduct.

Photo: Theft from the public takes many forms, including the craft of picking pockets, otherwise known as ‘dipping’.