K Line Exec
Jailed for Price-fixing Conspiracy
30/03/15 10:16 AM
Toru Otoda, a Japanese
shipping executive at Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd (K Line),
pleaded guilty on Thursday to price-fixing and bid-rigging
the sale of international shipments of ro-ro cargo to and
from the U.S. and other countries. He was sentenced to an
18-month prison term and fined $20,000.
Otoda is the third K Line executive to be sentenced to
prison time for a conspiracy that began in February 1997. He
pleaded guilty to the charges of coordinating with
executives from other companies to divvy up clients and
adjust shipping prices for cars to and from the U.S. Otoda
is reported to have been part of the conspiracy from
November 2010 through September 2012.
Otoda was charged under the Sherman Act, which was put in
place to prevent the artificial adjustment of prices by
limiting trade or supply, and nefarious dealings intended to
produce monopoly. The Act imposes criminal penalties of up
to 10 years imprisonment and $1 million in fines, and can be
increased to twice the amount the conspirators gained from
the criminal activities or twice the money victims of the
crime lost if either is more than $100 million.
Otoda’s sentence is the fourth in the Department of Justice
Antitrust Division’s ocean shipping investigation, which is
being conducted by the Antitrust Division's Washington
Criminal I Section and the FBI's Baltimore Field Office.
Three corporations have pleaded guilty and agreed to pay a
total of more than $136 million, with K Line paying $67.7 of
the criminal fines.
According to Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer of the
Antitrust Division, Otoda’s sentence is part of the
Division’s commitment to enforcing accountability on
executives who conspire to fix ocean freight prices.
Otoda and K Line have agreed to assist the Division’s
ongoing investigation in the shipping industry.
The Maritime Executive