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.
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.
Yulia Tymoshenko is yet to clearly lay out her plans for the future, but there are signs she may intend to move into the Ukrainian president's office. Experts say she may just have a chance of succeeding.
Sources in Ukraine say armed men thought to be pro-Russian have stormed a Crimea military post and put the barracks under siege. No shots were understood to have been fired, with Ukrainian troops barricaded inside.
Luxembourg's former prime minister Jean-Claude Juncker has won the backing of European conservatives to be their candidate for the role of European Commission president. Elections are due in May.
The 28th edition of the South by Southwest (SXSW) festival is now underway, drawing tech, music and film innovators and fans from around the world to Texas. Edward Snowden and Neil Young are set to be event highlights.