DOJ will not appeal decision against Stolt-Nielsen
The Justice Department said it has decided not to appeal a decision reached in November by the U.S. District Court in Philadelphia that dismissed its indictment against the parcel tanker company Stolt-Nielsen.
DOJ said it was 'disappointed with the ruling,' but '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.'
In 2006, a federal grand jury in Philadelphia returned an indictment against London-based Stolt-Nielsen, subsidiaries and executives for participating in a conspiracy with two other parcel tanker companies ' Odfjell Seachem AS of Norway and Jo Tankers B.V., a Dutch company.
The government said Stolt had participated in a scheme to allocate customers, fix prices, and rig bids on contracts of affreightment for parcel tanker shipping of products to and from the United States and elsewhere.
The 2006 indictment against Stolt had come despite the fact that in November 2002, executives from Stolt-Nielsen approached federal antitrust authorities under the DOJ's corporate leniency program. The company was granted amnesty for any antitrust activities it may have been engaged in prior to January 2003.
Stolt-Nielsen's cooperation led to fines totaling $62.5 million being levied against the two other co-conspirators, and executives from both companies being jailed.
Stolt-Nielsen, said that based on evidence from one of the others accused, DOJ had revoked the amnesty agreement and sought a criminal indictment against the company.
But on Nov. 29, 2007, the U.S. District Court in Philadelphia dismissed the indictment and Stolt said 'there was a lack of credible evidence that Stolt-Nielsen's participation in the customer allocation conspiracy continued past March 2002.'