FOR THE EASTERN DISTRICT OF PENNSYLVANIA
The United States of America, acting through its attorneys, charges:
DESCRIPTION OF THE OFFENSE
1. Bjorn Sjaastad is made a defendant on the charges contained in this Information.
2. Beginning at least as early as August 1998 and continuing until as late as November 2002, the exact dates being unknown to the United States, the defendant and co-conspirators engaged in a combination and conspiracy to suppress and eliminate competition by allocating customers, rigging bids and fixing prices for contracts of affreightment for parcel tanker shipping of products to and from the United States and elsewhere. The combination and conspiracy engaged in by the defendant and co-conspirators was in unreasonable restraint of interstate and foreign trade and commerce in violation of Section 1 of the Sherman Act (15 U.S.C. § 1).
3. The charged combination and conspiracy consisted of a continuing agreement, understanding, and concert of action among the defendant and co-conspirators, the substantial terms of which were to allocate customers, rig bids and fix prices for contracts of affreightment for parcel tanker shipping of products to and from the United States and elsewhere.
4. For purposes of forming and carrying out the charged combination and conspiracy, the defendant and co-conspirators did those things that they combined and conspired to do, including, among other things:
5. Parcel tanker shipping is the ocean transport of bulk liquid chemicals, edible oils, acids and other specialty liquids. Parcel tankers are deep sea vessels equipped with compartments designed to carry shipments of various sizes. The temperature and other specifications of the compartments can be regulated according to the specific requirements of the type of liquid being transported.
6. A contract of affreightment (also known as a "COA") is a contract between a customer and a parcel tanker shipping company for the transportation of bulk liquids from one port to another. A contract of affreightment typically covers multiple shipments during a certain time period and specifies the price, cargo, destinations and other terms and conditions.
DEFENDANT AND CO-CONSPIRATORS
7. During the period covered by this Information, Bjorn Sjaastad was the President and Chief Executive Officer of Odfjell ASA ("Odfjell") and Chairman of Odfjell's wholly-owned subsidiary, Odfjell Seachem AS. During the period covered by this Information, Odfjell was a corporation organized and existing under the laws of Norway with its principal place of business in Bergen, Norway. During the period set forth in this Information, Odfjell, through Odfjell Seachem AS, was a provider of parcel tanker shipping services and was engaged in parcel tanker shipping of products to and from the United States and elsewhere.
8. Various corporations and individuals not made defendants herein participated as co-conspirators in the offense charged herein and performed acts and made statements in furtherance thereof.
9. Whenever in this Information reference is made to any act, deed or transaction of any corporation, it means that the corporation engaged in the act, deed or transaction by or through its officers, directors, agents, employees or other representatives while they were actively engaged in the management, direction, control or transaction of its business or affairs.
TRADE AND COMMERCE
10. During the period covered by this Information, products shipped by parcel tanker by Odfjell, and parcel tanker shipping vessels, equipment and supplies necessary to providing such parcel tanker shipping, as well as payments for such parcel tanker shipping, traveled in interstate and foreign commerce.
11. During the period covered by this Information, the activities of defendant and his co-conspirators in connection with the parcel tanker shipping services affected by this conspiracy were within the flow of, and substantially affected, interstate and foreign trade and commerce.
JURISDICTION AND VENUE
12. The combination and conspiracy charged in this Information was carried out, in part, within the Eastern District of Pennsylvania within the five years preceding the filing of this Information.