Panalpina World Transport (Holding) Ltd. announces a settlement with the DOJ over violations of the Sherman Antitrust Act. As part of the resolution, Panalpina has entered into a plea agreement with the DOJ. Under the terms of the plea agreement, which is subject to court approval, Panalpina will enter guilty pleas to three counts of conspiring to violate the Sherman Act, and will pay a fine of approximately USD 12 million. The plea agreement releases the company from further prosecution for any conduct related to the sale of international air freight forwarding services, and for conduct related to the imposition of certain enumerated surcharges in connection with the sale of international ocean freight forwarding services.
It is Panalpina’s position, which is supported by economic evidence, that the infringements likely did not affect prices paid by Panalpina’s customers.
Administrative proceedings related to such conduct are still ongoing in the European Union, in Switzerland and New Zealand. In Brazil authorities announced preliminary investigations against the freight forwarding industry in mid August 2010. Respective cases in Canada and Australia have been dropped.
Notably, the conduct at issue in the DOJ settlement ended in 2007. Since that time, Panalpina has worked to build a state-of-the-art compliance structure aimed at ensuring rigorous adherence to competition and other laws throughout the world. The company has provided competition law training to its employees on a global basis, rolled out a new Code of Conduct, and has created a new Compliance Department, led by a Corporate Compliance Officer and staffed with dedicated compliance personnel stationed throughout the world.