NYK Employee Sentenced for Price Fixing

An employee of Japan-based Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK) was sentenced to 15 months in a U.S. prison after pleading guilty to involvement in a conspiracy to fix prices for RoRo transportation services.

According to the one-count felony charge filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland this January, Susumu Tanaka, who was a manager, deputy general manager and general manager in NYK’s car carrier division, conspired to allocate customers and routes, rig bids and fix prices for the sale of international ocean shipments of roll-on, roll-off cargo to and from the United States and elsewhere, including the Port of Baltimore.

Tanaka participated in the conspiracy from at least as early as April 2004 until at least September 2012.

“Today’s sentence is another step toward bringing to justice the perpetrators of this long-running cartel and restoring competition to the ocean shipping industry,” said Bill Baer, Assistant Attorney General for the Antitrust Division.

“But this investigation is far from over.  We are continuing our efforts to hold accountable the companies and executives who seek to maximize profits through illegal, anticompetitive means.”

Tanaka was sentenced to serve a 15-month prison term and pay a USD 20,000 criminal fine for his participation in the conspiracy.  In addition, Tanaka has agreed to assist the department in its ongoing investigation into the ocean shipping industry.

This sentence is the third against an individual in the division’s ocean shipping investigation, and the first against an individual from NYK, according to the US Department of Justice.

Three corporations have agreed to plead guilty and to pay criminal fines totaling more than USD 136 million, including NYK, which has agreed to pay a criminal fine of USD 59.4 million, pending court approval.