A federal grand jury indicted Ulrich Ogiermann, the president and CEO of Cargolux Airlines International, and his top deputy on criminal charges of conspiring to fix air cargo prices, the U.S. Justice Department said Friday.
The indictments handed up by a grand jury in Miami make Ogiermann and Robert van de Weg, senior vice president for sales and marketing at the freighter operator, the highest ranking executives to face charges in an investigation that so far has resulted in jail terms for a handful of former airline officials and more than a $1 billion in penalties in the United States and other countries.
By The Numbers: Air Freight Price Index.
Luxembourg-based Cargolux said its management and board of directors are “reviewing the charges against Mr. Ogiermann and Mr. van de Weg and can make no further comments at this time.”
“We understand that, under U.S. law, Mr. Ogiermann and Mr. van de Weg will now have the opportunity to defend themselves against these allegations in court,” the airline said.
Cargolux, the third-largest freight carrier among European airlines and one of the world’s largest operators of 747 freighters, pleaded guilty last year to violating antitrust laws in the United States and agreed to pay a $119 million fine for coordinating air cargo surcharges with other airlines as part of a broad price-fixing conspiracy.
The indictment alleges that Ogiermann took part in the global conspiracy to coordinate air cargo surcharges from 2001 to 2006 and that van de Weg took part in the conspiracy from 2003 until 2006.
As the current chairman of the International Air Cargo Association, Ogiermann is a high-profile figure in the air cargo industry and is also on the board of SITA, the airline industry technology and information service.