An executive at leading Chilean shipping company Compañia Sudamericana de Vapores S.A. (CSAV) has been charged with allocating customers and routes, rigging bids and fixing prices for international ocean shipments, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) announced yesterday.
A grand jury in the District of Maryland returned the indictment against Mauricio Javier Garrido Garcia for the actions regarding roll-on, roll-off cargo to and from the Port of Baltimore and elsewhere in the United States.
Garrido is accused of participating in the conspiracy from as early as 2000 until at least September 2012. An indictment is a formal charging document, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Garrido is the eighth executive to be charged in the investigation to date. Four individuals have already pleaded guilty and been sentenced to prison and three others have been indicted but remain fugitives from justice.
CSAV and two other companies have also pleaded guilty and paid over US$136 million in criminal fines.
“This long-running conspiracy restrained trade in one of the main channels of international commerce – the oceans,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Renata B. Hesse, head of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division.
“Today’s indictment further demonstrates the division’s commitment to holding accountable ocean-shipping executives who participated in this scheme.”
Special Agent in Charge Kevin Perkins of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Baltimore Division, said the charges brought outlined a “deceptive scheme to destabilize competition in the marketplace”.
“Those who engage in this type of criminal activity with the intent on corrupting our economy will be identified and brought to justice. To ensure we don’t erode the public’s trust in the competitive bidding process, the FBI will continue to work with the Antitrust Division to ensure the integrity of competition across all industries,” Perkins said.