By Greg Hammond, J.D.
Norwegian company Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics AS (WWL) has agreed to plead guilty and pay a $98.9 million criminal fine for participating in a conspiracy to fix prices of international ocean shipments of roll-on, roll-off cargo to and from the Port of Baltimore and other locations (U.S. v. Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics AS, Dkt. 1:16-cr-00362-GLR).
The Antitrust Division claims, in its one-count felony charge filed today, that WWL and others knowingly entered into a combination and conspiracy to suppress and eliminate competition by allocating customers and routes, rigging bids, and fixing prices for international oceans shipping services for roll-on, roll-off cargo, such as cars, trucks, and mining, construction, and agricultural equipment, to and from the United States and elsewhere.
In addition to paying the $98.9 million criminal fine, WWL has agreed to cooperate with the Antitrust Division’s ongoing antitrust investigation. The plea agreement, however, is subject to court approval.
"WWL and its co-conspirators cheated their customers for years by fixing the prices of ocean shipping services for cars, trucks, and other cargo essential to our nation’s economy," stated Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General and head of the Antitrust Division, Renata B. Hesse. "The Antitrust Division, working together with our law enforcement colleagues, will continue to hold the ocean shipping companies and executives who perpetrated this scheme accountable for their crimes."
WWL is the fourth company that has pleaded guilty in the Antitrust Division’s investigation, which has already resulted in more than $230 million in fines. Eight executives were charged for allegedly participating in the conspiracy. Four have pleaded guilty and have been sentenced to prison terms. "The other four executives have been indicted, but remain fugitives from justice," the Antitrust Division stated.
Companies: Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics AS
MainStory: TopStory Antitrust AntitrustDivisionNews
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