The Dutch Maria Ullings, former top woman at airline company Martinair, was extradited by Italy to the United States on suspicion of involvement in making illegal price agreements about air freight. The US Department of Justice announced this on Monday. Ullings was indicted in 2010 and had been on the run for almost ten years. She is facing a prison sentence of ten years and a fine of one million dollars (900,000 euros).
Between January 2001 and February 2006, Martinair, together with a large number of other airlines, including KLM and Air France, were allegedly guilty of price-fixing agreements on the amount of fuel surcharges for freight transport. As a result, the costs of such transports became higher for customers in the United States and Europe, among others. The US judiciary has sued a total of 22 airlines and 21 executives in the case.
The European and American authorities previously ruled that there was a cartel and imposed fines of millions of euros in 2010. Earlier, Air France-KLM settled in the case.
The Italian authorities had arrested Ullings in July 2019 in Sicily. The former director appealed against her extradition, but the court of the Sicilian capital Palermo did not agree.
In addition to Ullings, dozens of other drivers were also prosecuted for illegal price agreements. For example, former Martinair Cargo Frank de Jong manager had to serve eight months in prison in the United States in 2009 and pay a fine of $ 20,000 (€ 18,000).
Also read this 2014 NRC article about the cartel: Aviation was too expensive because it was impossible to compete