Korean Air Pleads Guilty to Price-Fixing Conspiracy

OTTAWA, July 19, 2012 — The Competition Bureau announced that Korean Air Lines Co., Ltd. (Korean Air) pleaded guilty today to conspiracy under the Competition Act and was fined $5.5 million for its participation in an air cargo price-fixing cartel between April 22, 2002 and February 14, 2006.

"Korean Air is the 7th international air carrier fined in this investigation," said Melanie Aitken, Commissioner of Competition. "The Bureau is committed to pursuing those who engage in anti-competitive behaviour that harms Canadian businesses and consumers."

To date, the Bureau's air cargo investigation has resulted in seven convictions and fines of over $22.6 million. Cargolux, Air France, KLM, Martinair, Qantas, and British Airways have pleaded guilty to fixing air cargo surcharges for shipments on certain routes from Canada. The Bureau's investigation into the alleged conduct of other air cargo carriers continues.

Price-fixing conspiracies are, because of their secret nature, very difficult to detect and prove. Suspicions and identical prices are not enough to establish an offence. There must be evidence that competitors have agreed to set those prices. When there are substantiated allegations of wrongdoing in the marketplace, the Bureau will not hesitate to take action.

The Bureau's investigation benefitted from cooperation under the Bureau's Immunity and Leniency Programs. These programs create incentives for parties to address their criminal liability by cooperating with the Bureau in its ongoing investigation and prosecution of other alleged cartel participants.

The Competition Bureau, as an independent law enforcement agency, ensures that Canadian businesses and consumers prosper in a competitive and innovative marketplace.


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