Brussel: Ráðist til húsleitar hjá stóru flugfélögunum vegna gruns um verðsamráð

BRUSSELS, Feb. 14 — The European Commission, acting with the Justice Department on Tuesday, raided air-cargo carriers on both sides of the Atlantic, seeking evidence of a broad price-fixing cartel.
A statement by the commission, the year-round administrative arm of the European Union, said it had "reason to believe that the companies concerned may have violated laws which prohibit practices such as price-fixing."

In Washington, an antitrust spokeswoman for the Justice Department, Gina Talamona, said it was "investigating the possibility of anticompetitive practices in the air cargo industry" and described the inquiry as "industrywide."

Neither authority would name the companies involved in the investigation, but later in the day British Airways, Lufthansa, Air France, KLM and Cargolux, a Luxembourg-based carrier, confirmed they were cooperating with European investigators.

A spokesman for American Airlines, Tim Wagner, said representatives from the Justice Department came to company headquarters on Tuesday to hand officials a subpoena. Earlier, he described the subpoena as being "in connection with its investigation regarding practices in the air cargo industry."

"American," he continued, "has not been notified that it is a target of the investigation, and unlike some other airlines, has not received a search warrant. American intends to cooperate fully" with the Justice Department's investigation.
A United Airlines spokesman, Jeff Green, said European Commission investigators visited offices in Frankfurt and made an "inquiry." He declined to be more specific, but said United had not received a subpoena or search warrant in the United States.

No details were otherwise provided about the investigators' suspicions of collusion.

British Airways issued a statement saying it had been asked for information by the European Commission and the Justice Department, and was cooperating with the authorities. Air France and KLM made similar statements, as did Lufthansa.

KLM confirmed that investigators had been at the company on Tuesday. The airline, according to The Associated Press, said it was extending "full cooperation, and we have all the faith in the outcome of the investigation."

Europe's competition commissioner, Neelie Kroes, has put cartel-busting at the top of her priorities. A year ago, she said she would set up a cartel division within the competition department. She described cartels as "the most damaging type of anticompetitive practice," and promised zero tolerance for companies that collude.

The New York Times greinir frá.