The Justice Department said it will not appeal the dismissal of an indictment against London-based shipping company Stolt-Nielsen Transportation Group.
On Sept. 6, 2006, a federal grand jury in Philadelphia indicted the company, two of its subsidiaries and two executives for participating in a price-fixing and bid-rigging conspiracy. A district court judge dismissed the indictment on Nov. 29.
Stolt-Nielsen ships bulk liquid chemicals in deep-sea tankers. The company had cooperated with the government in criminal antitrust prosecutions in the international carrier industry. But the Justice Department decided to remove Stolt-Nielsen from the government's Corporate Leniency Program for allegedly continuing illegal anticompetitive activity longer than it said it did.
In 2002, Stolt-Nielsen went to the Justice Department with evidence that it and its two competitors had allocated customer contracts among themselves. The Justice Department allowed Stolt-Nielsen into the amnesty program in exchange for the company's cooperation in prosecuting the other companies. Both competitors pled guilty.
In a statement Friday, the Justice Department said, "While the Division is disappointed with the ruling, it respects the role of the court in making the factual determinations that support the decision that Stolt-Nielsen, two of its subsidiaries and two executives did not breach the conditional leniency agreement."
Stolt-Nielsen is the only company that the department had ever tried to remove from the leniency program.