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Business

Germans Charged in Rubber Price Fixing

A US jury on Wednesday indicted two former executives of Bayer AG, the German chemicals producer, over an international conspiracy to fix the price of rubber chemicals, officials said. The Justice Department said charges of conspiring with other firms and individuals "to suppress competition" and fix prices in the United States and other countries were filed against Germans Jurgen Ick and Gunter Monn in the US District Court in San Francisco. Bayer and other companies have already paid 200 million dollars in fines for price fixing and some executives face jail terms. Ick was former head of Bayer's Rubber Business Group. Monn was head of marketing for the company, was said to have joined the plot in 1997. Rubber chemicals are a group of additives used to improve the elasticity, strength, and durability of rubber products, such as tires, furniture, footwear and other goods. The department said about one billion of rubber chemicals are sold each year in the United States. The Justice Department said the executives agreed at meetings with rival producers to increase prices in the United States and elsewhere and other measures to make sure everyone adhered to the price agreement. Bayer AG, Syndial SpA, Crompton Corporation, DuPont Dow Elastomers, Zeon Chemicals have paid more than 200 million dollars in criminal fines following an Antitrust Division investigation into rubber product pricing.

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