Price-fixing crimes

UK-based Dunlop Oil & Marine will pay $4.54m in criminal fines for participating in a cartel to rig bids, fix prices and allocate market shares of marine hose.


Grimsby-based Dunlop Oil & Marine will pay $4.54m in criminal fines for participating in a cartel to rig bids, fix prices and allocate market shares of marine hose.


During the conspiracy, the cartel affected prices for hundreds of millions of dollars worth of marine hose and related products worldwide.


Dunlop is charged with participating in it from as early as 1999 until as late as May 2007.


The US Department of Justice said that, among others things, the cartel members attended meetings during which they allocated shares of the marine hose market among them and 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.


Dunlop executives Bryan Allison and David Brammar pleaded guilty in December 2007 to participating in the conspiracy.


Allison was sentenced to pay a $100,000 criminal fine and serve 24 months in prison and Brammar was sentenced to pay $75,000 and serve 20 months in prison.


Another arrested executive, Peter Whittle, a former Dunlop executive and now the sole proprietor of PW Consulting (Oil & Marine), pleaded guilty for his leadership role in the conspiracy in December 2007 and was sentenced to pay a $100,000 criminal fine and serve 30 months in prison.


Allison, Brammar and Whittle were also arrested and criminally charged with cartel offences by UK authorities.


On November 14, 2008 the UK Court of Appeal sentenced Allison to serve 24 months in jail, Brammar to serve 20 months in jail and Whittle to serve 30 months in jail.


Because the UK prison sentences either matched or exceeded the sentences recommended in the US, the defendants were not required to serve them in the US.


In addition, Uwe Bangert, a German national and former executive with Dunlop’s former parent company, Phoenix AG, was indicted on July 19, 2007 for his participation in the marine hose cartel.


His trial date has not been set.


Eight foreign executives, including Allison, Brammar and Whittle, were arrested on May 2, 2007 in Houston and San Francisco and charged for their roles in the cartel, following a meeting in Houston.


Robert L Furness, the former president of Manuli Rubber Industries’  Plantation, Florida-based subsidiary, and Charles J Gillespie, a former Manuli regional sales manager, have also pleaded guilty for their roles in the conspiracy.


Subject to court approval, Manuli will pay a criminal fine of $2m, Furness will serve 14 months in prison and pay a $75,000 criminal fine and Gillespie will serve 12 months and one day in jail and pay a $20,000 criminal fine.


Francesco Scaglia, the deputy manager of Manuli’s Oil & Marine Division, and Val M Northcutt, another regional sales manager, were acquitted on November 11, 2008 after also being charged with participating in the conspiracy.


Additionally, executives with Trelleborg Industrie SAS, Christian Caleca and Jacques Cognard, pleaded guilty to charges stemming from their roles.


In December 2007 each was sentenced to serve 14 months in prison.


Caleca was sentenced to pay a $75,000 criminal fine and Cognard was sentenced to pay a $100,000 criminal fine.


Giovanni Scodeggio, an Italian citizen and manager of Parker ITR SRL’s Oil & Gas Business Unit, pleaded guilty to a one-count felony charge in a US District Court in Houston in August 2008.


Scodeggio was sentenced to pay a criminal fine of $20,000 and to serve six months under house-arrest.


In May 2007, Misao Hioki, an executive involved in the sale of marine hose for Bridgestone Corporation in Japan, was charged for his involvement in the conspiracy.


The charges involving Hioki are pending in a US District Court in the Southern District of Florida.