Ex-Horizon CEO Raymond Cleared in Antitrust Case

Ex-Horizon CEO Raymond Cleared in Antitrust Case

Former Horizon Lines CEO Chuck Raymond has been cleared in the Justice Department’s investigation of antitrust violations in the Jones Act domestic shipping market.

Raymond is “is no longer a subject of the Antitrust Division’s investigation,” Justice Department attorney Brent Snyder advised in a one-sentence letter to Raymond's attorneys.

A Justice Department spokeswoman would not say whether similar letters were sent to others whose companies were involved in price-fixing in the U.S. mainland-Puerto Rico trade. She said the investigation is “ongoing.”

The Justice Department said Horizon and Sea Star began colluding in 2002 and that Crowley later joined the conspiracy. The Jones Act antitrust investigation became public when federal officials raided carriers’ offices on April 17, 2008.

Soon after the raids, five former carrier officials — Gabriel Serra, Greg Glova and Kevin Gill of Horizon, and Peter Baci and Alexander Chisholm of Sea Star — pleaded guilty to antitrust violations or hiding evidence. All served prison terms.

The case remained open, however. Former Sea Star CEO Frank Peake was convicted of an antitrust conspiracy in January and is awaiting sentencing. Tom Farmer, former vice president at Crowley Liner Services, was indicted last month on an antitrust charge.

Raymond, now 69, retired in February 2011, simultaneously with Horizon’s announcement it would plead guilty to a felony antitrust charge. He and Executive Vice President John V. Keenan, who also left the company, were not granted immunity from prosecution.

Horizon’s guilty plea was followed by similar pleas by Sea Star and Crowley. The three companies’ fines totaled $46.2 million. They also paid more than $57 million to settle class-action lawsuits by direct and indirect customers, in addition to undisclosed amounts in settlements with individual customers.

Contact Joseph Bonney at jbonney@joc.com and follow him at twitter.com/JosephBonney.


Editor's Note: This was updated 1:25 p.m. Wednesday.