| FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONDAY, OCTOBER 19, 1998
TDD (202) 514-1888
INDIVIDUAL CHARGED WITH CRIMINAL CONTEMPT
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A federal grand jury today returned a one-count indictment charging Vincenzo Oliveri with criminal contempt for failing to appear before a Houston grand jury in response to a subpoena. The grand jury was investigating a conspiracy among providers of heavy-lift derrick barge and related marine construction services to reduce and eliminate competition in the provision of such services to customers in the United States and elsewhere.
Vincenzo Oliveri was served with the grand jury subpoena on May 7, 1998 while in Houston, Texas. The subpoena required his appearance before the grand jury on June 2, 1998, but the appearance date was later changed to July 29, 1998. The indictment charges that, despite his knowledge of his obligation to appear before the grand jury to testify, Oliveri deliberately, willfully, and contumaciously failed to appear on July 29.
Joel I. Klein, Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Antitrust Division, said, "Today's charge affirms the Division's intention to prosecute persons who do not comply with grand jury subpoenas lawfully served upon them and who thereby interfere with the Division's responsibility to investigate and prosecute violations of the antitrust laws."
In December 1997, HeereMac, v.o.f., based in Leiden, The Netherlands, and Jan Meek, the Commercial Director of HeereMac, pled guilty to charges of conspiracy to suppress and eliminate competition, in violation of the Sherman Act, related to a bid-rigging scheme for the sale of heavy-lift derrick barge and related marine construction services in the United States and elsewhere. As part of the plea agreement, HeereMac paid a fine of $49 million, and Meek paid a fine of $100,000.
Criminal contempt is punishable by fine or imprisonment, at the discretion of the Court. The period of incarceration and the amount of fine that may be imposed are not specified by law.
The ongoing grand jury investigation into collusion among major providers of marine construction services is being directed by the Litigation I Section of the Antitrust Division, with the assistance of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.