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EU sends charges in marine hose cartel case

The European Commission said on Monday it had sent charges to companies it believes took part in a cartel that fixed the prices of their marine hoses.

“The European Commission can confirm, that a statement of objections has been sent to a number of companies active in the supply of marine hoses, concerning their alleged participation in a cartel,” the European Union executive said in a statement. The Commission raided the French, Italian and British offices of makers of marine tubing roughly a year ago as part of a global cartel investigation, and coordinated its work with the US Justice Department. Marine hoses are used to pipe crude oil and petroleum products, for example for loading and unloading tanker ships.

German tyre and car parts maker Continental, which owns British-based Dunlop Oil & Marine, and Swedish engineering firm Trelleborg said on Monday, they had received statements of objections from Brussels. Some suspected of involvement were arrested last year in the United States, where price fixing is a crime. They included Trelleborg staff and executives working for Dunlop Oil & Marine and Japan’s Bridgestone.

According to the complaints in the US case, the executives took part in the conspiracy “at various times” since 1999. An affidavit filed in the case said the alleged conspirators met in locations such as Key Largo, Florida and in Bangkok and referred to the cartel as “the club” or the Technical Committee – “Marine Hose” in written communications. (Reuters)