Guilty plea brings $28.5 million fine

A Luxembourg-based manufacturer of polyester staple and its former us director of textile staples have agreed to plead guilty to charges of price fixing, the US Department of Justice announced yesterday.

A Luxembourg-based manufacturer of polyester staple and its former us director of textile staples yesterday agreed to plead guilty to participating in a conspiracy to fix prices and allocate customers in the polyester staple industry, the US Department of Justice announced yesterday.

Polyester staple is a petroleum-derived fibre used to make products such as clothing, table linens and upholstery.

According to separate charges filed this week in the US district court in Charlotte, KoSa, a Luxembourg company with its principal place of business in Charlotte, and its former director of textile staples, Troy F. Stanley, Sr conspired with unnamed co-conspirators to suppress and eliminate competition in the North American polyester staple industry from at least September 1999 through to January 2001.

Pursuant to their plea agreements, KoSa has agreed to plead guilty and to pay a $28.5 million criminal fine. Stanley has also agreed to plead guilty, which entails a $20,000 criminal fine and eight months in jail, all subject to court approval.

Charles A. James, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the department’s Antitrust Division said the cases ‘reflect the antitrust division’s resolve to prosecute companies and executives engaged in cartels that harm American consumers.’

KoSa and Stanley are said to have carried out the conspiracy by participating in meetings and conversations where prices and customers were discussed and agreements reached. The agreements included selling polyester staple at the agreed-upon prices and to the agreed-upon customers; monitoring and enforcing adherence to the agreements and issuing price announcements and quotations in accordance with their agreements.

The cases against KoSa and Stanley are the second and third to be brought in the polyester staple industry. On September 13, 2002, Robert Bradley Dutton formerly of Nan Ya plastics corporation was indicted for conspiring to fix prices and allocate customers in the polyester staple industry. He is awaiting trial.