Following an investigation by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK), a global shipping company based in Japan, has today pleaded guilty to criminal cartel conduct in the Federal Court.
“This is the first criminal charge laid against a corporation under the criminal cartel provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.
The charge was laid by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) under section 44ZZRG of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 (Cth) on 14 July 2016.
“This matter relates to alleged cartel conduct in connection with the transportation of vehicles, including cars, trucks, and buses, to Australia between July 2009 and September 2012,” Mr Sims said.
NYK is one of the world’s largest shipping companies, with offices in Europe, Africa, East Asia, South Asia, China, Oceania (including Australia) and North and South America. It has over 33,000 employees and its headquarters is in Tokyo. It also operates an Australian subsidiary, NYK Line (Australia) Pty Ltd.
For corporations, the maximum fine for each criminal cartel offence will be the greater of: $10 million; three times the total benefits that have been obtained and are reasonably attributable to the commission of the offence; if the total value of the benefits cannot be determined,10% of the corporation’s annual turnover connected with Australia.
The ACCC’s investigation into other alleged cartel participants is continuing.
The matter is next scheduled for a directions hearing in the Federal Court on 12 September 2016.
Given this is a criminal matter currently before the Court, the ACCC will not provide any further comment at this time.
The ACCC investigates cartel conduct, manages the immunity process, takes proceedings in the Federal Court in respect of civil cartel contraventions, and refers serious cartel conduct to the CDPP for consideration for prosecution. The CDPP is responsible for prosecuting criminal cartel offences, in accordance with the Prosecution Policy of the Commonwealth.