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SYDNEY, Aug 23 (Reuters) - Norwegian shipping company Wallenius Wilhelmsen Ocean AS (WWO) has been charged with criminal cartel conduct, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said on Friday.
The ACCC said the charges relate to the shipping of vehicles to Australia between June 2011 and July 2012.
Wallenius Wilhelmsen said it had been cooperating fully with the investigation, and would continue to do so until the court concludes the case.
“Whilst we regret that it has come to this, we are happy to see this matter now proceeding formally,” the company said in a statement.
“This news does not trigger any change in Wallenius Wilhelmsen provisions,” it said.
ACCC Chair Rod Sims in an emailed statement noted that this was the third prosecution involving an international shipping company engaging in alleged cartel conduct where criminal charges have been laid.
This month Japan’s Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha was convicted of working with other shipping companies to fix prices on the transportation of cars, trucks, and buses to Australia between 2009 and 2012.
Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha was fined A$34.5 million ($23.30 million) as a result.
In July 2016, Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha pleaded guilty to criminal cartel conduct. The company was fined A$25 million.
$1 = 1.4806 Australian dollars Reporting by Colin Packham; additional reporting by Terje Solsvik in Oslo; editing by Richard Pullin and Jason Neely