EU issues warning to suspected disk drive cartel

An offical statement of objections has gone out to 13 suppliers

The European Commission on Tuesday warned 13 optical disk drive suppliers that they may face a formal antitrust investigation for participating in a worldwide cartel.

The Commission believes the companies have been engaged in bid rigging for at least five years. The companies in question supply optical disk drives, which read or write data on CDs and DVDs on PCs. According to the Commission, they are accused of rigging bidding events organized by two major original equipment manufacturers for optical disk drives to the detriment of consumers.

The formal Statement of Objections is the first step in Commission investigations into suspected violations of E.U. antitrust rules. The companies involved are not publicly named at this stage. The parties can examine the documents on the Commission's investigation file, reply in writing and request an oral hearing to present their comments on the case.

After this, if the Commission still finds that there is sufficient evidence of an infringement it can issue a decision prohibiting the conduct and impose a fine of up to 10 percent of a company's annual worldwide revenue.

Follow Jennifer on Twitter at @BrusselsGeek or email tips and comments to jennifer_baker@idg.com.

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