China Air To Plead Guilty To US Price Fixing

September 27, 2010

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China Airlines has agreed to plead guilty for its role in a conspiracy to fix the prices of air cargo shipments and pay a USD$40 million criminal fine, the US Department of Justice said on Monday.

China Airlines, which is based in Taiwan, will plead guilty to a single felony count in connection with its role, which ran from 2001 to 2006, the department said.

The charge was filed in the US District Court for the District of Columbia, which must approve the plea deal.

Eighteen airlines have pleaded guilty or agreed to do so in the department's long-running probe into price-fixing in air cargo, the Justice Department said.

The airlines have paid more than USD$1.6 billion in criminal fines, and four executives have been sentenced to prison.

Antitrust enforcers in Australia and the European Union, among others, have also prosecuted air cargo price fixing cases.

Major airlines caught up in the probe include British Airways, Korean Air Lines, Qantas Airways), Japan Airlines, Cathay Pacific Airways, Air France, EL AL Israel Airlines and Nippon Cargo Airlines.

(Reuters)