Martinair exec agrees to jail time


A Dutch airline executive for Martinair Holland will plead guilty, serve jail time and pay a fine in connection with a price-fixing conspiracy for international air cargo shipments, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

Franciscus Johannes de Jong, former vice president of cargo sales in Europe for Martinair, will serve eight months and pay $20,000 in a criminal fine under a plea agreement, subject to court approval, DOJ said.

That makes four executives and 15 airlines that have pled guilty or agreed to penalties in the ongoing probe of conspiracy to fix prices in air shipments. Fines have topped $1.6 billion, and three persons have already been sentenced to jail time.

In a charge filed in court against de Jong, in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, DOJ said he and other conspirators held meetings and engaged in other communications to set prices on cargo, in a period from April 2002 to at least February 2006.

“By fixing prices for the shipment of products to and from the United States, this cartel targeted a critical piece of our country’s economy,” said Scott D. Hammond, deputy assistant attorney general in charge of the Antitrust Division’s Criminal Enforcement Program.

The department said its investigation continues into this cargo pricing conspiracy, which included coordinating fuel surcharges on international air cargo hauls.