Photo: Image Courtesy: K Line

ACCC: K Line Pleads Guilty to Criminal Cartel Conduct in Australia

Japan’s shipping major Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K Line) pleaded guilty to criminal cartel conduct in Australia’s Federal Court on April 5, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said.

K Line’s plea follows an investigation by the ACCC and charges laid by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions in relation to cartel conduct concerning the international shipping of cars, trucks, and buses to Australia between July 2009 and September 2012.

ACCC informed that the matter will now proceed to sentencing and is next scheduled for a sentencing hearing in the Federal Court on November 15 and 16, 2018.

This is the second guilty plea in Australia in relation to this cartel. In July 2016, K Line’s compatriot Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK) pleaded guilty to criminal cartel conduct.

The cartel operated from at least February 1997 and affected vehicles transported to Australia by NYK and other shipping lines from locations in Asia, the US and Europe on behalf of major car manufacturers including Nissan, Suzuki, Honda, Toyota and Mazda.

In August 2017, NYK was convicted and fined AUD 25 million (around USD 19.2 million), the second-highest imposed in ACCC’s history.

The Commission earlier informed that the maximum fine for each criminal cartel offence would be the greater of AUD 10 million; three times the total benefits that have been obtained and are reasonably attributable to the commission of the offence; or, if the total of the benefits cannot be determined, ten percent of the corporation’s annual turnover connected with Australia.

The ACCC’s investigation into other alleged cartel participants is continuing.