The US Department of Justice on Tuesday indicted three former executives of Japanese shipping lines NYK and K-Line for their alleged roles in a price-rigging conspiracy in the US market.
The trio – Yoshiyuki Aoki (formerly of K-Line), Masahiro Kato and Shunichi Kusunose (both formerly of NYK) – are accused of conspiring with other maritime companies to rig bids, fix prices and overcharge for their services in the matter of shipping new motor vehicles for sale.
Tuesday’s indictment was returned by a grand jury in the District of Maryland, the state that includes Baltimore, one of the ports victimized by the conspiracy.
The companies involved have also admitted guilt and paid millions of dollars in criminal fines.
But the US authorities’ determination to go after individuals as well as firms indicates how seriously they take this issue.
Four other executives have previously pleaded guilty and been sentenced to jail.
These crimes are said to have happened over a long period between 2001 and 2012.