The DOJ has arrested and charged eight executives with conspiring to rig bids, fix prices and allocate markets for US sales of marine hosing. The type of marine hose affected by the alleged conspiracy is used to transport oil between tankers, buoys and storage facilities. Major US purchasers of marine hose include Shell, ExxonMobil and Chevron, as well as the US Department of Defense.
The DOJ has released the names of those charged in the conspiracy. They include Peter Whittle, the owner of UK-based industry consulting firm PW Consulting (Oil & Marine) Ltd.; Bryan Allison and David Brammar, the managing director and sales and marketing director, respectively, of UK-based Dunlop Oil & Marine, Ltd.; Jacques Cognard and Christian Caleca, a manager and the president of the Industrial Hose Business Unit, respectively, of the French company Trelleborg Industrie SA; Vanni Scodeggio, a business unit head of the Italian firm Parker ITR slr; Francesco Scaglia, a product manager of the Italian firm Manuli Rubber Industrie SpA; and Misao Hioki, an executive of the Japanese operations of Bridgestone Corporation. Each of the eight executives charged are foreign citizens; four were arrested on the day after meeting in a Houston hotel allegedly to effect the conspiracy.
According to charging documents, the executives met and conspired at various times beginning in 1999 and continuing to the present. One executive, Whittle, is charged with coordinating the conspiracy among the marine hose manufacturers. He allegedly collected US$300,000 per year to allocate marine hose projects, referring to the winning bidder in correspondence as the “champion” for that project. The investigation of the marine hose conspiracy is ongoing and is jointly being conducted by the DOJ’s National Criminal Enforcement Section, the Defense Criminal Investigative Service, the Department of Defense Office of Inspector General, the US Navy Criminal Investigative Service and the FBI. In addition, and in coordination with their US counterparts, regulators from the UK’s Office of Fair Trade (OFT) and the EU simultaneously executed search warrants against companies in France, Italy and the UK.