Antitrust Law Daily EC inspectors raid auto makers’ headquarters as part of cartel investigation
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Monday, October 23, 2017

EC inspectors raid auto makers’ headquarters as part of cartel investigation

By Jody Coultas, J.D.

European Commission officials carried out inspections on October 16 of BMW’s German headquarters as part of an investigation into an alleged cartel among German car manufacturers.

The EC confirmed that its inspectors, along with inspectors from the German national competition authority, conducted an inspection of BMW’s Munich facilities. It was the first confirmed raid related to the alleged cartel. This is a preliminary step in investigations of suspected anti-competitive practices. No antitrust charges have been filed by the EC.

Volkswagen and Daimler have reportedly admitted to the EC to participating in an unlawful cartel and have applied for leniency in exchange for cooperation in the investigation.

In the Unite States, the alleged cartel is subject to multiple suits alleging that Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, Bentley and Mercedes have met and conspired through at least 60 working groups and 1,000 meetings involving more than 200 employees to fix prices at artificially high, non-competitive levels throughout the U.S. in violation of the Sherman Act and multiple state laws. Because all four actions have common questions of facts and all of the parties support consolidation, the cases have been consolidated in the Northern District of California.

MainStory: TopStory Antitrust

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