ERJ staff report (DS)
Washington DC -- An independent consultant and two executives of Dunlop Oil & Marine Ltd., a manufacturer of marine hose located in Grimsby, UK, were charged on Monday with participating in a conspiracy to rig bids, fix prices and allocate market shares of marine hose sold in the United States, announced the Department of Justice.
A one-count felony charge was filed today in U.S. District Court in Houston, against Peter Whittle, sole proprietor of a consulting business named PW Consulting (Oil & Marine) Ltd., Bryan Allison, managing director of Dunlop Oil & Marine Ltd., and David Brammar, Dunlop's sales and marketing director.
The Department charged that during the conspiracy Whittle, Allison, Brammar and their co-conspirators:
- Discussed the sale of marine hose at meetings, by telephone, fax and e-mail; Agreed during meetings and discussions to allocate shares of the marine hose market among conspirators; Agreed during meetings and discussions to a price list for marine hose in order to implement and monitor the conspiracy;
- Agreed not to compete for one another's customers either by not submitting prices or bids to certain customers or by submitting intentionally high prices or bids to certain customers; Submitted bids in accordance with agreements reached; Provided customer information to, Whittle who served as a clearinghouse for information to be shared among conspirators; Received marine hose prices for customers in the United States from Whittle;
- Sold marine hose at collusive and noncompetitive prices; Accepted payment for marine hose at collusive and noncompetitive prices; Authorised subordinate employees to participate in the conspiracy; and Concealed the conspiracy by using code names and private e-mail accounts and telephone numbers.
Eight foreign executives, including Whittle, Allison and Brammar, were arrested on May 2, 2007 in Houston and San Francisco and charged for their role in the conspiracy to suppress and eliminate competition by rigging bids, fixing prices and allocating market shares for sales of marine hose in the United States, following their participation in a cartel meeting in Houston.
Francesco Scaglia and Val M. Northcutt, executives with Manuli Rubber Industries SpA, were indicted in September 2007 in U.S. District Court in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for their roles in the conspiracy. The case has been put on the court's May 2008 trial docket. Earlier this month, Christian Caleca and Jacques Cognard, executives with Trelleborg Industrie S.A.S., pleaded guilty to charges stemming from their roles in the conspiracy and have agreed to recommended sentences of 14 months each.
In May 2007, two other foreign executives were charged for their involvement in the conspiracy -- Vanni Scodeggio, a business unit manager at Parker ITR srl in Italy and Misao Hioki, an executive involved in the sale of marine hose for Bridgestone Corporation in Japan. Law enforcement agencies from multiple foreign jurisdictions are investigating or assisting in the ongoing matter.
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Press release from US DoJ