US charges Cargolux executives for price-fixing

 CARGOLUX’S chief executive officer, Uli Ogiermann, and Robert Van de Weg, senior vice-president of sales and marketing, have been accused of conspiring to fix air cargo surcharges to and from the US.

The US alleges that Ogiermann was involved in the cartel from October 2001 to February 2006, Van de Weg from December 2003 to February 2006.

If the court finds them guilty they could be sentenced to 10 years in prison and a US$1 million fine.

In a statement, Cargolux said: “The Cargolux management and Board of Directors are reviewing the charges against Mr. Ogiermann and Mr. van de Weg and can make no further comments at this time.”

In a separate case, four other executives of competing cargo carriers have been charged with conspiring to increasing charges – sure to enflame a US jury’s anger, if actually true – on cargo shipments to Latin America immediately after Hurricane’s Katrina and Rita, from September to December 2005.

Guillermo “Willy” Cabeza, Rodrigo Hernan Hidalgo and Luis Juan Soto, formerly of Arrow Air, and George Gonzalez, formerly of Gemini, all too face 10 years in prison and $1 million fines if found guilty.

Meanwhile, Cargolux has just agreed to pay a $2.5 million fine to Canada for fixing cargo surcharges to the country between April 2002 and February 2006.

“Price-fixing is a serious crime that denies the benefits of competition and artificially increases the prices we pay for goods and services,” said Melanie Aitken, Commissioner of Competition. “The Bureau will not hesitate to take action against conspirators when it uncovers evidence that the law has been broken.”

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