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.
France has pledged to help Greece's new government as it seeks a better deal with its international creditors. The pledge came during a meeting between Greece's new finance minister and his French counterpart in Paris.
The euroskpetic AfD (Alternative for Germany) party has wrapped up its party conference in Bremen. Party founder Bernd Lucke finished by thanking Greece's new government for "showing things can't go on like this."
Several people have died after being buried in the snow in Switzerland and Austria. Large parts of the Alps are still under threat from dangerous snow conditions.