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Nishi-Nippon to Pay $4M for Fixing Prices in Japan

WASHINGTON (CN) - The Japan-based Nishi-Nippon Railroad will likely pay $4.6 million after pleading guilty to a charge that it conspired to restrain trade.

Nishi-Nippon, of Fukuoko, Japan, provided air freight forwarding services for cargo being shipped to the United States from Japan.

According to the one-count information that the U.S. government filed on Sept. 28, 2011, Nishi-Nippon conspired with its national competitors to fix prices. The scheme lasted from 2002 to 2007, prosecutors said.

The plea carries a maximum fine of $100 million, or twice the gross pecuniary gain derived from the crime, or twice the loss caused to the United States - whichever is greater.

According to the agreement, however, prosecutors will recommend that the court impose a criminal fine of $4.6 million.

Nishi-Nippon has also agreed to cooperate with the ongoing investigation of the price-fixing scheme on air freight forwarding services in Japan.

U.S. Attorney Richard Helling signed the plea along with Nishi-Nippon president Kazuyuki Takeshima and the company's Chicago-based attorney, Terrence Truax with Jenner & Block.

Though the signatures are dated Sept. 26 and Sept. 27, 2011, the U.S. government filed it with the court on Nov. 1 and announced the plea on Nov. 13.

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