British Airways (BA) senior staff could face extradition to the US as part of an ongoing criminal investigation involving price fixing, it was announced yesterday.
The world’s third largest airline pleaded guilty to two counts of criminal anti-trust violations of US law for price fixing of both passenger and cargo fuel surcharges in court yesterday, and was handed a fine of £151m for its part in the illegal cartel.
The individuals under suspicion, expected to include at least two former BA employees, Martin George, ex-commercial director, and Iain Burns, former head of communications, could face up to 10 years in jail if convicted.
BA was already fined £121.5m by the UK’s Office of Fair Trading at the start of August, and individuals named as part of this other investigation into the fixing of passenger fuel surcharges could be spared extradition, according to Guardian Unlimited.
The practice of fixing surcharges – a charge added to tickets to pay for the rising cost of fuel – took place between August 2004 and January 2006. The cartel was brought to light when Virgin Atlantic blew the whistle.