Norwegian-based global shipping company Wallenius Wilhelmsen Ocean AS (WWO) has entered a guilty plea in the Federal Court to criminal cartel conduct, according to the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC).
After an ACCC investigation, on 23 August 2019 the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) charged WWO with cartel conduct regarding the transportation of vehicles, including cars, trucks and buses, to Australia between June 2011 and July 2012.
We are pleased that by entering a guilty plea, WWO has acknowledged its role in this criminal cartel. This plea means the last of the cases in the long-running shipping cartel matters is now closer to being resolved
ACCC Chair Rod Sims stated.
The case has been adjourned for sentencing at a later date.
As this is a criminal matter currently before the Federal Court, the ACCC will not provide any further comment at this time.
This cartel has been investigated and prosecuted in a number of other jurisdictions, including the United States.
This is the third guilty plea in Australia in relation to this cartel. On 18 July 2016, Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK) pleaded guilty to criminal cartel conduct and was convicted and fined $25 million on 3 August 2017. Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd (K-Line) pleaded guilty to criminal cartel conduct on 5 April 2018 and was convicted and fined $34.5 million on 2 August 2019.
A cartel exists when businesses agree to act together instead of competing with each other. Cartel conduct can include price fixing, sharing markets, rigging bids and controlling the output or limiting the amount of goods and services
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