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Two Japanese freight companies to pay $18.9 million for price-fixing

Yusen Logistics Co. and “K” Line Logistics Ltd. are the latest in a string of 16 companies that have agreed to plead guilty to fixing fees

Two Japanese freight forwarders have agreed to pay a total of $18.9 million in criminal fines for their role in a price-fixing scheme, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Over the course of at least five years, Yusen Logistics Co. and “K” Line Logistics Ltd. conspired to fix freight forwarding fees, including security fees and fuel surcharges, on air cargo shipments from Japan to the U.S., the DOJ said. The two are just the latest in a string of 16 freight forwarding companies that have agreed to plead guilty to price-fixing and pay criminal fines totaling more than $120 million.

“Consumers were forced to pay higher prices on the goods they buy every day as a result of the noncompetitive and collusive service fees charged by these companies,” Bill Baer, Assistant Attorney General of the DOJ’s Antitrust Division said in a statement. “Prosecuting these kinds of global, price-fixing conspiracies continues to be a top priority of the Antitrust Division.”

The DOJ seems to have been successful in pursuing that priority. In the 2012 fiscal year, the antitrust division collected a record-breaking $1.35 billion in criminal fines, nearly 60 percent of which came from Asia-Pacific-based companies.

In its own statement to shareholders, Yusen said that it “treats this incident with utmost seriousness” and that it is taking steps to strengthen its compliance efforts.

Read more at Thomson Reuters.

For more InsideCounsel coverage of price-fixing, see:

Jury orders Dow Chemical to pay $400 million for price-fixing

Toshiba will pay $87 million for price fixing

9th Circuit revives dairy farmers’ price-fixing suit

Retailers appeal $7.2 billion Visa/MasterCard settlement

Illinois sues Samsung, LG and other electronics companies for price-fixing

SuperConference Keynote Panel offers inside look at the story behind “The Informant”

 

 

Alanna Byrne

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