More light shone on banana cartel inquiry

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 22nd December 2009

Chiquita Brands International has shed more light on the latest EU probe into claims of a cartel in the banana industry by admitting it has received a notice regarding the investigation.

The US-based fruit giant said it had been sent a “statement of objections” over the probe, which is looking into claims of a banana cartel in southern Europe.

Chiquita said the claims centre on “activities alleged to have occurred” between July 2004 and January 2006.

Last year, the company was found guilty of taking part in price-fixing in northern Europe between 2000 and 2002 but escaped a fine after handing information to the European Commission that kick-started the investigation.

As part of its latest probe, the EU has questioned whether Chiquita should be granted “immunity or leniency” under the current investigation.

However, Chiquita said: “The company continues to believe that it should be entitled to immunity.”

Last week, Dole Food Co. and Fresh Del Monte both announced that they were not being investigated as part of the EU probe.

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