Australia Brings Criminal Charges Against K Line
Australian authorities have brought criminal charges against the Japanese-based shipping company Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (K Line) in relation to alleged cartel conduct concerning the international shipping of cars, trucks, and buses to Australia between July 2009 and September 2012.
An initial hearing was conducted in a Sydney court earlier this week.
This is the second matter in which criminal charges have been brought against a corporation under the criminal cartel provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) investigates cartel conduct, manages the immunity process, takes proceedings in the Australian federal courts with regard to civil cartel contraventions, and refers serious cartel conduct to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) for consideration for prosecution. The CDPP is responsible for prosecuting criminal cartel offences, in accordance with the Prosecution Policy of the Commonwealth.
K Line is a global organization with offices in Europe, Africa, Northeast Asia, Southeast Asia, Japan, North America, Central America, South America, India, the Middle East, and Oceania (including Australia). It has over 7,000 employees and its headquarters is in Tokyo. It also has an Australian subsidiary, K-Line (Australia) Pty Ltd.
Last month, K Line, together with the two other largest Japanese container carriers, Nippon Yusen Kaisha (NYK), Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL), announced that they would be merging their container operations. The three carriers are among the shipping companies that formed THE Alliance, which is scheduled to go operational next April. The three carriers plan to spin off their container divisions to form a new company.
The ACCC’s investigation into other alleged cartel participants is continuing. The ACCC is not providing any further comment at this time. K Line has not commented.