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Antitrust Alert: Executive Extradited While Visiting Italy Ten Years After Cartel Charges

Last week, Italian authorities extradited the former senior vice president of Cargo Sales and Marketing with Martinair Cargo, Maria Christina Ullings. Italian authorities apprehended Ullings, a Dutch national, visiting Sicily in July 2019. A grand jury in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia indicted her nearly ten years ago for her alleged participation in a global price-fixing conspiracy in the air cargo industry.

According to the September 2010 indictment, Ullings conspired to fix and coordinate certain surcharges, including fuel surcharges, that were charged to customers in the United States and elsewhere for international air shipments to and from the United States. Ullings' alleged participation in the conspiracy began at least as early as January 2001 and continued through at least February 2006.

INTERPOL issued a Red Notice for Ullings, which is a member country request to arrest individuals charged with criminal conduct for possible extradition. Even though some countries have policies against extraditing their own citizens, those policies may not extend to non-citizens visiting those countries. With a membership of 194 countries, INTERPOL makes it highly risky for individuals charged with a crime to travel freely without being apprehended at the request of a member country.  

Ullings' arrest and extradition highlights the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division's ("DOJ") ongoing efforts to extradite foreign antitrust defendants to the United States to stand trial on cartel charges. DOJ coordinates with other countries throughout the world to arrest indicted individuals either in their home countries or, as the Ullings extradition illustrates, in countries where they are traveling, even temporarily, for business or pleasure. Thus, foreign antitrust defendants continue to face substantial risk that DOJ will seek their extradition to the United States if they do not voluntarily submit to U.S jurisdiction to face cartel charges.

DOJ obtained its first-ever extradition solely on an antitrust charge in April 2014, as detailed in in this Alert. Ullings is the seventh foreign executive that DOJ extradited in recent years, and now the second extradition based solely on an antitrust charge.  

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