Brazil Judge Accepts Charges Against Siemens, Other Companies

SAO PAULO (AP) — A Brazilian judge has accepted charges filed by state prosecutors against 11 companies accused of forming a cartel to raise prices on the construction and upkeep of subway and train systems in the state of Sao Paulo.

A press officer of the prosecutor’s office said Saturday that Judge Marcos Pimentel Tamassia accepted the charges that involve contracts signed between 2000 and 2007. She spoke on condition of anonymity because she was not authorized to comment the case.

Among the companies charged are Germany’s Siemens, CAF of Spain, Mitsui of Japan, Bombardier of Canada and Alstom of France.

None of the companies were available for comment on Saturday.

Prosecutors have said that the companies were involved in price fixing, and that those that won bids then contracted the losing companies to provide services.

Brazil’s antitrust agency, the Administrative Council for Economic Defense has said that the companies used several anticompetitive strategies, such as the prearrangement of offers tendered in bidding processes. At times, it said, the cartel would also determine which company would win a bid by allowing only one to tender an offer.

In 2013, Siemens struck a plea agreement with authorities and denounced the existence of the price-fixing scheme.

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