EU Antitrust Watchdog Imposes Big Cartel Fines

BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union’s antitrust watchdog is sounding the warning to business cartels by announcing fines about $600 million in three antitrust cases.

The EU Commission said Wednesday that it fined groups of maritime car carriers $486 million, spark-plug suppliers $93 million and brake-system suppliers $92 million for colluding on prices.

EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said “the three separate decisions taken today show that we will not tolerate anticompetitive behavior affecting European consumers and industries.”

In reference to its biggest fine, the Commission said Chilean maritime carrier CSAV, the Japanese carriers “K” Line, MOL and NYK, and Norwegian/Swedish carrier WWL-EUKOR formed a deep-sea vehicle transport cartel for almost six years.

MOL avoided a $250 million fine by blowing the whistle on the cartel.

Germany’s Bosch and Japan’s Denso and NGK were found to have run a cartel supplying spark plugs to European car-makers, while three companies — TRW, Bosch and Continental — ran two different cartels fixing brake system prices.

Denso and TRW received immunity for exposing the cartels.

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