Former Air Cargo Executive Extradited from Italy for Price-Fixing

posted on 14th January 2020 by Eddie Saunders
Former Air Cargo Executive Extradited from Italy for Price-Fixing

Maria Christina “Meta” Ullings, the former senior vice president of cargo sales and marketing for Martinair N.V. (Martinair Cargo) and a Dutch national, was extradited from Italy, the Department of Justice announced today.

On Sept. 21, 2010, in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia in Atlanta, Ullings was indicted for participating in a long-running worldwide conspiracy to fix prices of air cargo. A fugitive for almost 10 years, Ullings was apprehended by Italian authorities in July 2019 while visiting Sicily. Ullings initially contested extradition in the Italian courts, but after the Court of Appeals of Palermo ruled that she be extradited, she waived her appeal. She arrived in Atlanta on Jan. 10 and made her initial appearance today in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.

This extradition ruling by the Italian courts – the seventh country to extradite a defendant in an Antitrust Division case in recent years, and the second to do so based solely on an antitrust charge – demonstrates that those who violate U.S. antitrust laws and seek to evade justice will find no place to hide,” said Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division.  “The Division appreciates the cooperation of the Italian authorities in this matter.  With the assistance of our law enforcement colleagues at home and around the world, the Division will aggressively pursue every avenue available in bringing price fixers to justice.”

According to the indictment, Ullings conspired with others to suppress and eliminate competition by fixing and coordinating certain surcharges, including fuel surcharges, charged to customers located in the United States and elsewhere for air cargo shipments.

Including Ullings, a total of 22 airlines and 21 executives have been charged in the Justice Department’s investigation into price fixing in the air transportation industry.  To date, more than $1.8 billion in criminal fines have been imposed and seven executives have been sentenced to serve prison time.

Ullings is charged with violating the Sherman Act, which carries a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $1 million criminal fine for individuals.

photo: Maarten Visser