The US Department of Justice announced that three shipping executives were charged in the Ocean Shipping Investigation, for colluding on bids and rates, bringing the total amount of indicted to eleven executives and four companies.
Specifically, Anders Boman, Arild Iversen, and Kai Kraass have been charged with participating in a long-running conspiracy to allocate certain customers and routes, rig bids, and fix prices for the sale of international ocean shipments of roll-on, roll-off cargo to and from the United States and elsewhere, including the Port of Baltimore. Boman and Iversen, are former executives of Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics AS (WWL) and Kraass is current WWL executive.
Including the charges announced on 27 June, eleven executives have been charged in the investigation to date. According to data provided by US DoJ, four of them have pleaded guilty and been sentenced to serve prison terms. Others remain international fugitives. WWL has pleaded guilty and been sentenced to pay a $98.9 million fine. Three other companies have also pleaded guilty, resulting in total collective criminal fines over $230 million.
The indictment alleges that the three men conspired with their competitors to allocate certain customers and routes for the shipment of cars and trucks, as well as construction and agricultural equipment. The defendants accomplished their scheme by attending meetings in Baltimore County and elsewhere, during which they agreed not to compete against each other, by refraining from bidding or by agreeing on the prices they would bid for certain customers and routes.
In addition, Boman, Iversen, and Kraass agreed with competitors to fix, stabilize, and maintain rates charged to customers of international ocean shipping services. The customers affected by the conspiracy included U.S. companies.
“These indictments are the continuation of a long-term effort by the FBI’s Baltimore Field Office to secure our nation’s economy against collusion in the shipping industry, to ensure competition in the market place and to protect US companies from these deceptive practices.” said Special Agent in Charge Gordon B. Johnson.
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