Former Nippon Cargo, JAL execs charged for air cargo price-fixing

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Former senior-level executives at Nippon Cargo Airlines and Japan Airlines International (JAL) have been indicted for allegedly participating in an air cargo price-fixing conspiracy.

The indictment, returned today in US District Court in Atlanta, charges former JAL Cargo Sales president Takao Fukuchi and Yoshio Kunugi and Naoshige Makino, both former senior executives for Nippon Cargo, with conspiring with others to suppress and eliminate competition by fixing and coordinating certain components of cargo rates charged to customers for international air shipments to and from the United States.

Fukuchi and Kunugi are charged with entering into and participating in the conspiracy from at least as early as December 1999 until at least February 2006. Makino is charged with joining and participating in the conspiracy from at least as early as June 2001 until at least February 2006.

As part of the conspiracy, Fukuchi, Kunugi, Makino and co-conspirators "implemented collusive cargo rates in accordance with the agreements reached, and accepted payments for shipments at collusive and noncompetitive rates", says the DOJ, whose ongoing investigation into price fixing in the air transportation industry have resulted in charges against myriad airlines and executives.

If convicted, the three executives face penalties including prison and fines.