DoJ charges Florida West with price fixing

THIS month, the US Department of Justice (DoJ) has targeted Miami-based cargo airline Florida West International Airways, one of its executives and two from an unnamed competitor for price fixing.

The charges allege the three colluded to fix prices on airfreight transported between Miami and Colombia between August 2002 and February 2006, in particular on flowers for Mother’s Day and St Valentine’s Day.

The executives charged were Rodrigo Hernan Hidalgo, Miami-based vice-president of sales for Florida West, and Bogotá-based Luis Augusto Afanador, general manager, and Jaime Lara Rueda Sr, commercial adviser.

The company faces a maximum fine of US$100 million and the individuals could be jailed for up to 10 years in prison.

Florida West has distanced itself from the charges, stressing that Hidalgo left the company over a year ago.

Hidalgo was also charged in October on a separate but similar conspiracy to fix surcharges on air cargo shipments from the US to South and Central America following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. That charge is pending.

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