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Air Carrier Lufthansa to Settle Price-Fixing Suits for $85 Million

September 12, 2006|From Reuters

WASHINGTON — German airline Deutsche Lufthansa has agreed to pay $85 million to settle U.S. class-action lawsuits stemming from allegations of cargo price fixing and has received conditional immunity from antitrust investigators, the carrier said Monday.

The settlement is subject to court approval.

Lufthansa also said it had applied for leniency to the U.S. Justice Department, the European Union Commission and other authorities and had received conditional immunity from all of them, reducing the risk of further penalties.

A spokeswoman for the Justice Department, Gina Talamona, declined to comment on details of the air cargo investigation, including decisions about granting leniency to any carriers.

In the U.S., leniency can be granted in cartel cases if a company is the first to offer to cooperate.

Lufthansa had said in February that it would cooperate with a probe being carried out by U.S. and European officials into possible price fixing of freight shipments by passenger and cargo airlines.

AMR Corp.'s American Airlines and UAL Corp.'s United Airlines have said they received inquiries as part of the investigation.

Scandinavian airline SAS revealed at the time that it had been raided by the European Commission, and British Airways, Air France and freight airline Cargolux said they had been questioned.

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