Antitrust Law Daily Fugitive Martinair Cargo exec sentenced in air cargo price fixing suit
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Friday, January 24, 2020

Fugitive Martinair Cargo exec sentenced in air cargo price fixing suit

By Jody Coultas, J.D.

The 14-month sentence is the longest handed down in the air cargo investigation.

The Department of Justice Antitrust Division announced that after 10 years as a fugitive, a former Martinair N.V. executive has been sentenced to 14 months in prison and fined $20,000 for her role in a conspiracy to fix prices in the air cargo market (U.S. v. Ullings, Criminal No. 1:10-CR-40).

Maria Christina "Meta" Ullings, the former senior vice president of cargo sales and marketing for Martinair, was charged with conspiring to stifle competition by fixing and coordinating surcharges, such as fuel, charged to US customers for air cargo shipments, according to the indictment. The air cargo shipments included perishable goods, consumer goods and heavy equipment that were shipped by American producers destined for American consumers.

On Sept. 21, 2010, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia in Atlanta, Ullings was indicted for her participation in the conspiracy. Nearly 10 years later, Ullings was apprehended by Italian authorities while visiting Sicily and extradited by Italian courts. The extradition was only the second to be based solely on an antitrust charge, and made Italy the seventh country to extradite a defendant in an Antitrust Division case in recent years.

To date, the Justice Department’s air cargo price fixing investigation has charged a total of 22 airlines and 21 executives, including Ullings. More than $1.8 billion in criminal fines have been imposed and seven of the executives have been sentenced to prison. The sentence is the longest handed down in the air cargo investigation.

"Today’s guilty plea demonstrates the Antitrust Division’s commitment to bringing those who violate the antitrust laws – wherever located – to justice," said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division. "The Antitrust Division and its partners are committed to rooting out international price-fixing cartels that cheat American consumers and producers."

Companies: Martinair N.V.

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