Former senior executives charged with price-fixing

Two former top executives at Norwegian car carrier Höegh Autoliners AS have been charged with participating in a price fixing cartel, the US Department of Justice has said.

Ingar Skiaker and Øyvind Ervik allegedly were involved in a conspiracy to allocate certain customers and routes, rig bids, and fix prices for the sale of international ocean shipments of RoRo cargo to and from the US and elsewhere.

The indictment alleges that, from at least as early as 2006 and continuing at least until September 2012, Skiaker and Ervik conspired with their competitors to allocate certain customers and routes for the shipment of cars and trucks. In addition, they agreed with competitors to fix, stabilize, and maintain rates charged to customers of international ocean shipping services.

Höegh Autoliners AS pleaded guilty and has been fined $21m. Thirteen executives have been charged in the investigation to date. Four have pleaded guilty and been given jail time. Others remain fugitives. Five companies including Höegh have pleaded guilty for their roles in this conspiracy, resulting in total collective criminal fines of more than $255m.

Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division said that “he Division’s investigation revealed that collusion was endemic and rampant in the shipping industry going back years. Höegh has already pleaded guilty, and now we must ensure that its executives will be held accountable.” Date