WASHINGTON–An ocean freight executive has been indicted for his participation in a long-running conspiracy to restrain trade in international ocean shipments of roll-on, roll-off cargo to and from the Port of Baltimore and elsewhere in the United States, the Department of Justice said Tuesday.
A grand jury in the District of Maryland returned the indictment. Mauricio Javier Garrido Garcia (Garrido), an executive of Compañia Sudamericana de Vapores S.A. (CSAV) and resident of Chile, is charged with allocating customers and routes, rigging bids and fixing prices for international ocean shipments of roll-on, roll-off cargo, including cars, trucks and construction and agriculture equipment. Garrido is accused of participating in the conspiracy from as early as 2000 until at least September 2012. An indictment is a formal charging document, and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.
Garrido is the eighth executive to be charged in the investigation to date. Four individuals have already pleaded guilty and been sentenced to prison and three others have been indicted but remain fugitives from justice. CSAV and two other companies have also pleaded guilty and paid over $136 million in criminal fines.
“This long-running conspiracy restrained trade in one of the main channels of international commerce – the oceans,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Renata Hesse, head of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division. “Today’s indictment further demonstrates the division’s commitment to holding accountable ocean-shipping executives who participated in this scheme.”
“These charges brought today, and for the prior seven executives charged, outline a deceptive scheme to destabilize competition in the marketplace,” said Special Agent in Charge Kevin Perkins of the FBI’s Baltimore Division. “Those who engage in this type of criminal activity with the intent on corrupting our economy will be identified and brought to justice. To ensure we don’t erode the public’s trust in the competitive bidding process, the FBI will continue to work with the Antitrust Division to ensure the integrity of competition across all industries.”
Today’s charge is the result of an ongoing federal antitrust investigation into price fixing, bid rigging and other anticompetitive conduct in the international roll-on, roll-off ocean shipping industry, which is being conducted by the Antitrust Division’s Washington Criminal I Section and the FBI’s Baltimore Division, with assistance from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Office of Internal Affairs, Washington Field Office/Special Investigations Unit.