EUROPE & CIS: Martinair executive charged in US cargo probe

A US grand jury in Atlanta returned an indictment against Maria Christina “Meta” Ullings, a senior vice president for Martinair Holland N.V. If found guilty Ullings could face 10 years in prison and a US$1 million fine. According to a US Justice Department statement, Ullings conspired with others to suppress and eliminate competition by fixing […]


A US grand jury in Atlanta returned an indictment against Maria Christina “Meta” Ullings, a senior vice president for Martinair Holland N.V. If found guilty Ullings could face 10 years in prison and a US$1 million fine. According to a US Justice Department statement, Ullings conspired with others to suppress and eliminate competition by fixing and coordinating certain surcharges, including fuel surcharges, charged to customers located in the US and elsewhere for international air shipments to and from the US from at least as early as January 2001 until at least February 2006. The indictment alleges Ullings and coconspirators carried out the conspiracy by communicating and agreeing upon certain surcharges to be charged for shipments to and from the US. As part of the conspiracy, Ullings and coconspirators monitored the surcharge agreements and accepted payments at noncompetitive rates. A total of 17 airlines and eight executives, including Ullings, have been charged in the Justice Department’s ongoing investigation into price fixing in the air transportation industry. To date, more than $1.6 billion in criminal fines have been imposed and four executives have been sentenced to serve prison time. Charges are pending against four executives, including Ullings. The airlines that have pleaded guilty, or have agreed to plead guilty, as a result of the department’s ongoing investigation into the air transportation industry are: British Airways, Korean Air Lines, Qantas Airways, Japan Airlines, Martinair, Cathay Pacific Airways, SAS Cargo Group, Air France, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, EL AL Israel Airlines, LAN Cargo, Aerolinhas Brasileiras, Cargolux Airlines International, Nippon Cargo Airlines, Northwest Airlines and Asiana Airlines. Additionally, on 2 September Polar Air Cargo was charged in this investigation and is scheduled to enter a guilty plea and be sentenced on 15 October. Airline executives who have pleaded guilty as a result of the investigation are Bruce McCaffrey of Qantas, Keith Packer of British Airways, Franciscus Johannes de Jong of Martinair and Timothy Pfeil of SAS Cargo. In August, Jan Lillieborg, former vice president of global sales for SAS Cargo was also indicted and a trial date has not yet been set.