Spain slaps $148 million fine on rail cartel involving Siemens, Nokia

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MADRID, Oct 1 (Businesshala) – Spain’s competition watchdog has jointly charged eight companies, including Siemens (SIEGn.DE), Nokia (NOKIA.HE) and ACS (ACS.MC), for rigging public contracts 127.3 million euros ($148 million). Relating to rail-signaling systems.

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The CNMC watchdog said on Friday that between 2002 and 2017 the companies acted as a cartel to illegally share contracts worth 4.1 billion euros awarded by national rail-infrastructure operator Adif.

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A Nokia spokesperson said the company fully cooperated with CNMC’s investigation and believed it acted legally.

“We are going to appeal the decision and request the suspension of all sanctions pending the appeal,” the spokesman said.

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Neither Siemens nor ACS immediately responded to a request for comment.

CNMC said the ruling came after a 2019 investigation that broke up a similar cartel involving several similar companies focused on rail-electrification contracts.

“It (recently) the cartel’s practices have been particularly damaging, in some cases, due to the duration of certain contracts with the effects of fraud lasting until 2040,” the watchdog said in a statement.

CNMC said 10 executives of the companies were fined a total of 483,000 euros.

ACS subsidiary Cobra received the biggest fine of 30 million euros, followed by Nokia 24 million euros. Siemens and its Siemens Rail subsidiary were jointly fined 28.9 million euros.

($1 = 0.8621 Euro)

Reporting by Nathan Allen and Clara-Layla Laudette in Madrid, Essie Lehto in Helsinki, Editing by Andrei Khalip

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