UPDATE 1-Three airlines to pay $214 mln for price fixing

WASHINGTON, April 9 (Reuters) - Three international airline companies have agreed to pay a total of $214 million in criminal fines related to charges they conspired to fix prices, the U.S. Department of Justice said on Thursday.

Luxembourg-based Cargolux Airlines International agreed to pay $119 million, Japan-based Nippon Cargo Airlines Co agreed to pay $45 million, and Korea-based Asiana Airlines Inc 020560.KS agreed to pay $50 million, the DOJ said.

The department said the airlines engaged in a conspiracy to eliminate competition by fixing international cargo rates charged from at least 2001 through 2006. Asiana was also charged with fixing passenger fares on flights from the United States to Korea.

The airlines agreed to cooperate with the department’s ongoing investigation into the air transportation industry.

Including Thursday’s announcement, the DOJ said 15 airline companies have pleaded or agreed to plead guilty to price fixing, and have agreed to pay fines totaling more than $1.6 billion.

“The department will continue its investigation into this criminal conduct until all co-conspirators are brought to justice,” Scott Hammond, acting assistant attorney general in charge of the department’s antitrust division, said in a statement. (Reporting by Karey Wutkowski, editing by Matthew Lewis)