Deutsche Bahn obtains damages in price-rigging scandal | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 29.04.2013
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Deutsche Bahn obtains damages in price-rigging scandal

German rail operator Deutsche Bahn has obtained first damages in the wake of a large price-fixing scandal that broke back in 2011. Voestalpine of Austria said it would pay millions in compensation.

Following the disclosure of a European price-rigging cartel in 2011, Germany's state-owned Deutsche Bahn (DB) announced Monday it would obtain damages in the double-digit-euro region from Austrian steel maker Voestalpine. The Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper reported the German rail operator would get 50 million euros ($65.1 million) in compensation from the Austrian company.

Voestalpine spokesman Peter Felsbach confirmed there had been a settlement with Deutsche Bahn, but gave no further details.

Germany's Federal Audit Office in the summer of 2011 already punished a cartel of steelmakers which had sold tracks and switches to DB at irregular prices. The office slapped a fine of 124.5 million euros on subsidiaries of ThyssenKrupp, Vossloh and Voestalpine. ThyssenKrupp alone was fined 103 million euros.

More to come?

The Süddeutsche Zeitung reported the German government had called the settlement with Voestalpine "a big success," quoting sources from the ruling coalition as saying the deal would ratchet up the pressure on other cartel members to follow suit.

A large part of the damages paid looks set to go the federal budget and that of regional states which have been investing heavily in the maintenance and extension of the rail network using public funds.

Deutsche Bahn said it would follow through on its claims against ThyssenKrupp and others in legal proceedings at a regional court in Frankfurt.

hg/dr (dpa, Reuters, AFP)