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Saturday, 5 December 2009

$124 million to keep out of court

It appears that Infratil's best friends Cargolux are getting their arses kicked for their part in an international criminal conspiracy. Two conspiracies, in fact.

The US Department of Justice has accused several airlines of engaging in a conspiracy to eliminate competition by fixing the international cargo rates they charged, from at least 2001 through 2006. Three of the airlines have coughed up fines to avoid the presumably more expensive rigmarole of going through the courts. See Reuters for more grisly details. The red-handed three (and their guilt money) are:
  • Japan-based Nippon Cargo Airlines Co ($45 million)
  • Korea-based Asiana Airlines Inc ($50 million)
  • Luxembourg-based Cargolux Airlines International ($119 million)
Dear reader, your eyes do not deceive you: that's $119,000,000 worth of naughtiness. But they are contrite:
Cargolux Chairman Marc Hoffman said yesterday that his airline had "cooperated intensively with the DOJ and the other authorities throughout the investigation and will continue to do so." He added that the company had "reviewed and reinforced its competition compliance program." ATW Online
Meanwhile, in another part of the globe, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has also been investigating cargo price-fixing, and collusion on fuel surcharges, between 2003 and 2006. Once again, Cargolux have sought to save themselves some hefty legal bills and have offered the ACCC A$5 million worth of 'sorry'.
"Cargolux has cooperated intensively with the ACCC and the other authorities throughout the investigation and the legal proceedings and will continue to do so," Chairman Marc Hoffmann said. RoutesOnline
Familiar words.

As I typed this, and registered the fact that even the smaller fine is more money than Manston has ever made, I had a fleeting mental image of Infratil as an impressionable adolescent hanging out with crooks just because of the cash they can flash.

It's a dirty dead-end business guys, and you're in with a bad crowd.

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