BMW HQ Raided By EU Antitrust Authorities For Alleged Illegal Cartel

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Meanwhile, Daimler claims immunity.

BMW is describing what happened in its Munich, Germany offices last week as "assisting the European Commission in its work." The EU Antitrust Authority claims it was "conduct(ing) an inspection." The truth of the matter is that authorities raided the automaker's headquarters on October 16 in light of allegations, courtesy of a whistleblower, that it, along with several German automakers, had engaged in an illegal cartel, according to Reuters.

EU antitrust officials made an unannounced visit to what it only described as "a carmaker in Germany" in light of the allegations. Beginning last July, authorities were investigating what Reuters describes as "collusion among German carmakers in response to a tip-off after Der Spiegel magazine reporter that Daimler, BMW, Volkswagen and its Audi and Porsche arms conspired to fix prices in diesel and other technologies over decades." Hey, at least Dieselgate is seemingly over, but now this. Not at all surprisingly, "the BMW Group wishes to make clear the distinction between potential violations of antitrust law on the one hand and illegal manipulation of exhaust gas treatment on the other.

"The BMW Group has not been accused of the latter." For its part, Daimler "filed an application for immunity from fines with the European Commission some time ago." How come? Because it's claiming to have blown the whistle on "possible antitrust agreements." Daimler is also cooperating with the commission. As for VW, none of its offices have been raided by authorities at this time. The suspicion that German automakers have colluded in some form over the years is nothing new, but it has yet to be proven. What's interesting here is that one of them, which just so happens to be Daimler, may have ratted its domestic competitors out. Chances are this is far from over.


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