An Italian citizen was extradited from Germany on a charge of participating in a conspiracy to suppress and eliminate competition by rigging bids, fixing prices, and allocating market share for marine hose sold in the United States and elsewhere, the DOJ said Friday.
It was “the first successfully litigated extradition on an antitrust charge,” the DOJ said.
Romano Pisciotti, a former executive with Parker ITR Srl, a marine hose manufacturer headquartered in Veniano, Italy, appeared in federal court in Miami Friday. He was arrested in Germany in June 2013.
Marine hose is used to transfer oil between tankers and storage facilities. The cartel fixed prices worldwide from 2004 to 2007 for hose worth hundreds of millions of dollars, the DOJ said.
Pisciotti wasn’t charged Friday with FCPA offenses. But the marine hose case has involved FCPA charges against two other defendants.
In September 2011, Japan’s Bridgestone Corporation pleaded guilty and paid a $28 million criminal fine for its role in conspiracies to rig bids and bribe foreign officials in Latin America from 1999 until 2007.
And in 2008, former Bridgestone manager Misao Hioki pleaded guilty to conspiracy to violate the FCPA and rig bids. He was sentenced to two years in jail and fined $80,000.
Hioki was one of eight foreign executives arrested in May 2007 at a cartel meeting in Houston. He was the ninth defendant to plead guilty in the bid-rigging investigation and the only person in the cartel to plead guilty to an FCPA charge.
On Friday, the DOJ said Pisciotti’s extradition “marks a significant step forward in our ongoing efforts to work with our international antitrust colleagues to ensure that those who seek to subvert U.S. law are brought to justice.”
He’s been charged with violating the Sherman Act and faces up to 10 years in prison and a criminal fine of $1 million or more.
The DOJ said five companies have pleaded guilty in the price-fixing conspiracy — Parker ITR, Bridgestone, Manuli SpA of Italy, Trelleborg of France, and Dunlop Marine and Oil Ltd of the United Kingdom.
Here’s the DOJ’s April 4, 2014 release.
Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.