France takes 93 million euro slice out of ‘ham cartel’

French authorities have handed out 93 million euros in fines to 12 companies for engaging in a cartel that fixed prices of or ham and cold meats, in supermarkets and worked together to buy cheaper cuts, OCCRP reports. 

The companies were ordered to pay the fines for colluding to fix the price of their pork products between 2010 and 2013 by the French anti-trust authority.

“The manufacturers worked together in order to purchase cuts of ham at lower rates and agreed on fixing the price increases they intended to charge supermarkets,” the agency wrote in its statement.

The anti-trust authority uncovered secret meetings in hotels in Paris and Lyon as well as regular phone calls to coordinate price negotiations with slaughter houses.

The 12 producers are well established on the market, including brands such as Fleury Michon, Monique Ranou, Aoste or Jean Caby.

Campofrio Food and Coop are the two companies which revealed the procedures to the anti-trust authority in exchange for a more lenient sentence.

Campofrio received a fine of one million euros whereas Coop got six million euros.

The biggest single fine, 35.5 million euros, went to Cooperl Arc Atlantique, the leading French pork producer, which has six charcuterie production sites.

Cooperl and Fleury Michon said they will appeal the decision.

Cooperl added that the incriminating evidence are “fabricated” and submitted by its competitor. The company said that accusations against its activities depend on only one piece of evidence – a note book belonging to one of the directors of Campofrio.

The anti-trust authority said it saw no reason to question the authenticity of the note book.

Earlier, reported that the law Enforcement Director of the Russian Post for information technology and digital services development, Sergey Yemelchenkov, was detained In the case of cartel conspiracy.