Banana importers Dole and Del Monte have been fined 60 million euros ($82 million) for running an illegal price-fixing cartel, the European Commission said.
Europeans consume a lot of bananas
The importers, along with the Chiquita company, are accused of discussing prices and their pricing intentions in weekly phone calls between 2000 and 2002.
Europe's top antitrust watchdog on Wednesday, Oct. 15, ordered Dole to pay 45.6 million euros for its role while Del Monte/Weichert has been fined 14.7 million euros. Chiquita escaped a penalty because it tipped off authorities about the cartel.
"European consumers spend significant sums on bananas every year," Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said in a statement. "It is totally unacceptable for companies to have rigged prices in this manner and the companies concerned must learn the hard way that the commission will not tolerate such behavior," she added.