Germans charged in Philippines for conspiracy

27th July 2006, Comments 0 comments

27 July 2006, MANILA - Two top executives of Germany's Fraport AG were indicted on Thursday in the Philippines for allegedly attempting to engage in unfair-trade practices in the operation of a mothballed airport terminal in the capital.

27 July 2006

MANILA - Two top executives of Germany's Fraport AG were indicted on Thursday in the Philippines for allegedly attempting to engage in unfair-trade practices in the operation of a mothballed airport terminal in the capital.

Fraport chairman Wilhelm Bender and executive vice president Bernd Struck were among 15 respondents named in a criminal suit filed at a Manila court for allegedly conspiring to monopolize services at the still-unopened airport terminal.

The other respondents included officials of Philippine, Japanese and Singaporean firms that formed a consortium led by Fraport, which built the new terminal at Manila's Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA).

The government expropriated the facility in December 2004, and the 1997 contract awarded to the consortium to build and operate the airport terminal has been cancelled.

Fraport and the consortium have already filed separate arbitration cases in Singapore and Washington to seek compensation for building the terminal.

Manila City Assistant Prosecutor Rector Macapagal said the respondents are accused of attempting to restrain trade or commerce, "or to prevent by artificial means free competition in the market" at the new NAIA terminal.

"The accused willfully, unlawfully and feloniously ... grant unto themselves exclusive right to engage in the provision of ground handling, catering and fueling services within (the terminal) and to operate a warehouse for air-cargo handling and related services," he said in the complaint.

Even though the project has been terminated and the facility expropriated by the government, Macapagal said "mere agreement and decision to carry out a monopoly and combinations in restraint of trade is already a crime."

Macapagal recommended a bail of 6,000 pesos ($116) for each respondent.

The Philippine government hopes to open the new NAIA terminal within the year. The facility was built on a 65-hectare site. It has 140 check-in counters, 118 immigration counters, nine moving walkways and a 20,000-square-metre shopping complex.

DPA

Subject: German news

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