Odfjell tanker unit pleads guilty to price-fixing

Odfjell tanker unit pleads guilty to price-fixing

Odfjell ASA has pleaded guilty to federal price-fixing charges and agreed to pay $42.5 million in fines.

The plea agreement calls for a four-month prison term and $250,000 fine for Odfjell Chief Executive and President Bjorn Sjaastad, and a three-month sentence and $25,000 fine for vice president Erik Nilsen.

The plea comes amid the U.S. Department of Justice's ongoing investigation into alleged collusion in the marine chemical transportation industry.

Regulators earlier said they were considering revoking the conditional amnesty granted to the transportation unit of Odfjell's main rival, Stolt-Nielsen SA, the largest tanker operator in the world.

Odfjell, of Norway, granted Sjaastad a salaried leave of absence for six to nine months. Terje Storeng, a member of the Odfjell board, has been appointed interim chief executive and president effective Tuesday. He has been a board member since 1994.

European authorities are continuing their own antitrust probe.