Jacques Jourdan, a French executive with Elf Atochem SA, has agreed to plead guilty for participating in an international conspiracy to suppress competition in the industrial chemical market for monochloroacetic acid (MCAA). He will serve a 90-day jail sentence in the US and pay a $50,000 criminal fine, according to a statement from the US Department of Justice.
MCAA is a reactive chemical compound used in the production of numerous commercial and consumer products, including pharmaceuticals, herbicides, and plastic additives. Annual US sales of MCAA are approximately $50 million.
In a felony case filed in the US District Court in San Francisco, Jourdan was charged with allocating market shares of MCAA sold in the US and elsewhere from 1997 until 1999.
In addition to the charges against Jourdan, two European corporations and two European executives have also been charged with, and pleaded guilty to, participating in the international MCAA conspiracy.
Akzo Nobel Chemicals BV, the Dutch chemical giant, pleaded guilty in June 200l, and was sentenced to pay a $12 million criminal fine. Elf Atochem SA pleaded guilty in April, 2002, and was sentenced to pay a $5 million criminal fine.
Erik Anders Brostrom, an Akzo Nobel executive and Swedish citizen, pleaded guilty in July 2001 and was sentenced to serve a three-month jail sentence in the US and to pay a $20,000 fine.
Patrick Stainton, an Elf Atochem executive and citizen of France, pleaded guilty in April 2002 and was sentenced to serve a 90-day jail sentence in the US and to pay a $50,000 criminal fine.
Jourdan, like those who have already pleaded guilty, has agreed to co-operate fully with the ongoing US federal investigation of anti-competitive behaviour in the MCAA market.