Shipping Cartel Scandal as Two Freight Forwarding Executives Arrested in Miami
Two shipping executives have been arrested in Florida on charges of conspiring to fix prices on international freight-forwarding services.
The criminal complaint names the two defendants as Roberto Dip and Jason Handal. Dip is the owner and CEO of Dip Shipping and Handal is a manager at the company that operates in ports throughout the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
According to the criminal complaint, the men participated in a conspiracy among freight forwarding companies for at least one year, starting in March 2014. The companies arrange and manage the shipment of goods.
“As these arrests show, the Division and its law enforcement partners are committed to prosecuting senior executives who conspire to cheat American customers in vital international industries,” said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division in a statement.
The conspirators met in several locations in the United States and Honduras, investigators said, to discuss and agree to raising prices charged to customers in the United States, implemented through special commissions in port cities.
The group also spoke through email and other documents.
Dip and Handal were aware their conduct was illegal, according to the documents.
“There are antitrust laws that penalize businesses that collude to fix prices of a product or service,” Dip said in one email. “We must explain this to (others) … so nothing appears in writing.”
The division is still investigating price fixing in the international freight forwarding industry.
According to the New Orleans Advocate, besides owning the shipping company, Dip is the president of a professional soccer team in Honduras, club Deportivo y Social Vida. The club is in the country’s first division professional soccer league. Dip is also a city councilman in La Cieba.
Dip and Handal each face up to 10 years in prison and fines of up to $1 million if convicted.