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The Associated Press November 16, 2010, 4:09PM ET

Airline officials charged with cargo price-fixing

A federal grand jury on Tuesday indicted three former Japanese airline executives on charges of conspiring to fix rates for air cargo shipments to and from the United States.

The Justice Department said the conspiracy ran from at least 1999 to 2006, while the executives' airlines were carrying consumer goods, heavy equipment and other cargo on international flights.

The indictment in federal district court in Atlanta named Takao Fukuchi, the former president of cargo sales for Japan Airlines; and Yoshio Kunugi and Naoshige Makino, both former senior executives for Nippon Cargo Airlines.

The three former air officials are charged with price fixing, with a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and fines up to $1 million or more, depending on the illicit gain from shippers.

With the latest indictment, 19 airlines and 17 executives have been charged in an ongoing investigation into price fixing in air transportation. Four executives have been sentenced to prison, charges are pending against 13, and more than $1.7 billion in criminal fines have been imposed, according to the Justice Department.

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