Cargolux 747-400. By Rob Finlayson

Two Cargolux Airlines International (CV) executives, including its former CEO, have entered into a plea agreement with the US Dept. of Justice (DOJ) in which they agreed to serve 13 months in prison for fixing surcharge rates on air cargo shipments.  

Ulrich Ogiermann, the Luxembourg-based airfreight carrier's former president and CEO who now serves as a special adviser, and Robert Van de Weg, SVP-sales and marketing, “pleaded guilty to conspiring with others to suppress and eliminate competition by fixing and coordinating certain surcharges, including security and fuel surcharges, charged to customers located in the United States and elsewhere for air cargo shipments including shipments to and from the United States,” DOJ said. 

The agreement follows their indictment by a US grand jury in October 2010 for alleged violations of US antitrust laws (ATW Daily News, Nov. 1, 2010).

CV said in a statement, “While expressing its regret for the executives personally, Cargolux acknowledges their decision to plead guilty as a way to finally bring this matter to a controlled close both for them and the company. The charges against Ogiermann and Van de Weg relate to conduct they undertook on behalf of the company and do not allege that they derived any personal benefit from the activities in question.”

CV itself pleaded guilty in the US in 2009 to cargo price fixing and agreed to pay a fine of $119 million (ATW Daily News, April 10, 2009).

To date, 22 airlines and 21 executives have been charged in the DOJ’s ongoing investigation into price-fixing in the air transportation industry. More than $1.8 billion in criminal fines have been imposed and four executives have been sentenced to serve prison time.