US Air NZ cargo manager implicated in cartel

ANOTHER senior Air New Zealand manager has been implicated in the alleged anti-competitive global air cargo fuel surcharge cartel being investigated by New Zealand’s Commerce Commission.California-based regional cargo manager for the Americas, Salvatore Sanfilippo, is now the seventh defendant, along with five other Air New Zealand employees, in the case, which is due to start later this year.The commission alleges that Sanfilippo was directly involved in the latter half of a conspiracy, lasting from December 1998 to February 2006, which implemented an “overarching fuel surcharge understanding” on routes between the US and New Zealand.Seized emails also suggest that the cartel took advantage of the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2002 to implement another illegal surcharge, known as war risk insurance.So far the investigation, which started in 2005, has pulled in Korean Air Lines, Lufthansa, Polar Air and Qantas.New Zealand’s commerce minister, Simon Power, has suggested that the current fines – up to NZ$500,000 for an individual and NZ$10 million for a company – were insufficient and that if found guilty the defendants might face prison sentences also.The judge on the case has given the commission until 9 February provide Air New Zealand and the other defendants further details of the charges.

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