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EU Court imposes fines of EUR 23.44 million on thread cartel

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By Leo Gasteen

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has upheld  a EUR 23.44 million fine originaly imposed by the Commission in 2005 on 5 undertakings for their participation in cartels on the industrial threads markets.

The ruling follows the rejection of an appeal filed on behalf of the 5 undertakings that sought either annulment of the Commission decision or a reduction in their fines.

The Commission originally imposed a fine of €4.89 million on Amann and Cousin, which were considered to be jointly and severally liable. In addition, the Commission imposed an additional fine of €13.09 million on Amann for its participation in the cartel in Benelux and the Nordic countries. Oxley was ordered to pay €1.27 million. The Commission also imposed a fine of €980 000 on BST, a fine of €4.02 million on Gütermann and a fine of €170 000 on Zwicky.

All but one undertaking had their original fines upheld with the exception of BST, who was granted a 30% reduction for having  provided the Commission with evidence which substantially assisted the Commission in establishing the infringements

Background

The Commission discovered evidence enabling it to conclude that three cartels existed. The first concerned the industrial thread market in the United Kingdom and was not penalised because the imposition of a fine was time-barred. The second cartel – in which Oxley Threads (United Kingdom), Cousin Filterie (France) and Amann & Söhne (Germany) participated from May 1998 to 15 May 2000 – concerns the automotive thread market in the European Economic Area (EEA). The third cartel – in which Belgian Sewing thread (BST – Belgium), Amann, Gütermann (Germany) and Zwicky (Switzerland) participated, from January 1990 to September 2001 in the case of BST, Amann and Zwicky, and from January 1990 to November 2000 in the case of Zwicky – concerns the industrial thread market in Benelux and the Nordic countries.

European Court of Justice - Justice and Application - Fullt Text


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