by Niyati Shetty (Reuters) Japanese shipping firm Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd (K-Line) was convicted of criminal cartel conduct and ordered to pay a A$34.5 million ($23.50 million) fine by a federal court, Australia’s competition regulator said on Friday.
K-Line’s fine is the largest ever criminal penalty imposed under the Competition and Consumer Act, according to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
The company was found to have engaged in a cartel with other shipping companies in order to fix prices on the transportation of cars, trucks, and buses to Australia between 2009 and 2012, ACCC said.
K-Line pleaded guilty to the charges last year following a criminal investigation by the ACCC, and is the second Japanese shipping company to be convicted of cartel conduct by a Australian court.
In 2017, Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha was convicted by Australia’s Federal Court and fined A$25 million ($20 million) for its part in the activity.
Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha could not be immediately reached for a comment by Reuters.
Reporting by Niyati Shetty in Bengaluru; Editing by Himani Sarkar & Shri Navaratnam