Ex-Qantas Exec To Serve 8 Months For Price Fixing

May 9, 2008

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A former Qantas vice president will serve eight months in prison as part of a plea agreement for conspiring to fix prices for shipping air cargo, the US Department of Justice said on Thursday.

The agreement was part of a wide-ranging investigation of the air transportation industry by the Justice Department's antitrust division that has also led to guilty pleas by Japan Airlines, British Airways and Korean Air Lines.

Bruce McCaffrey, formerly a Qantas vice president for freight for the Americas, agreed to plead guilty to price fixing, serve prison time and pay a USD$20,000 fine, the department said in a statement.

The plea agreement must be approved by a court.

McCaffrey is accused with going to meetings and having other communications with people from other carriers to discuss cargo rates to be charged on some routes to and from the United States, the department said in a statement.

Qantas itself pleaded guilty to conspiring to fix prices between January 2000 and February 2006, and agreed to pay USD$61 million in fines.

In April, Japan Airlines agreed to plead guilty to conspiring to fix air cargo prices and paid a USD$110 million fine. British Airways and Korean Air Lines pleaded guilty last year and paid USD$300 million fines.

In February 2006, US and European officials raided airlines on both sides of the Atlantic as part of the probe.

(Reuters)