Greek shipping companies fined $1.5M for pollution, cover-up

SEATTLE (AP) _ A federal judge in Seattle has ordered two companies owned by a Greek shipping magnate to pay $1.5 million after a jury found that a cargo ship deliberately pumped oil-polluted water into the ocean, then repeatedly lied and falsified records in an effort to deceive inspectors with the U.S. Coast Guard.

Authorities hailed the sentence Friday as a rare success in holding corporate defendants accountable for pollution on the high seas, an offense that's notoriously difficult to detect and prove.

U.S. District Judge John Coughenour said he was troubled by the actions of Gallia Graeca LTD and Angelakos (Hellas) SA. They're part of a family of companies ultimately owned by Greek shipping magnate Evangelos Angelakos.

A lawyer for the companies argued for a fine of just $100,000, blaming the misconduct on rogue employees.