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Going Down? European Commission Levies $1.3 Billion Fine For Elevator Cartel

Companies involved in the cartel include KONE, Mitsubishi Elevator Europe B.V., Otis, Schindler and ThyssenKrupp.

The European Commission said Wednesday that it has fined members of lifts and escalators cartels more than $1.3 billion, the Commission’s largest fine.

The companies fined include subsidiaries of KONE, with $186.6 million; Mitsubishi Elevator Europe B.V. with $2.38 million; Otis with $295.3 million; Schindler with $188.7 million and ThyssenKrupp with $629.8 million. The fines for ThyssenKrupp companies involved were each increased by 50 percent, as the company is a repeat offender. For providing information to the Commission, KONE was exempt from fines in Belgium and Luxembourg, and Otis Netherlands also received immunity.

The companies were fined for cartels in the installation and maintenance of lifts and escalators in Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. The Commission initiated its investigation into the cartels in January 2004.

Following surprise inspections, companies involved in the cartel filed applications for leniency, giving the Commission added evidence of illegal activity.

According to the Commission, between 1995 and 2004, the companies rigged procurement contract bids, fixed prices and allocated projects to the cartel members and shared confidential information.

“The damage caused by this cartel will last for many years because it covered not only the initial supply but also the subsequent maintenance of lifts and elevators – for these companies the memory of this fine should last just as long.” said Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes.

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