THE WASHINGTON TIMES, August 11, 2005
Former leaders of Bayer AG indicted
Two former top executives of Bayer AG, the German chemicals producer, were indicted yesterday by a federal grand jury in San Francisco in an international price-fixing conspiracy in the rubber chemicals industry, the Justice Department said.
In separate indictments, the grand jury named Jurgen Ick and Gunter Monn on charges of conspiring with other corporate and personal co-conspirators to suppress competition by fixing the prices of rubber chemicals sold in the United States and elsewhere.
Department officials said Mr. Ick, former head of Bayer's rubber business group, was charged with participating in the conspiracy from 1995 to 2001. They said Mr. Monn, former head of marketing of Bayer's rubber business group, joined the conspiracy in January 1997. Both are German citizens. The two men face prison terms of three years and fines totaling $350,000 each, if convicted.
Nearly $1 billion worth of rubber chemicals are sold annually in the United States; they are used to improve the elasticity, strength and durability of rubber products such as tires, outdoor furniture, hoses, belts and footwear.
"Anyone who participates in these type of international conspiracies that defraud Americans millions of dollars faces great risk of being caught and prosecuted, no matter where they are located or where they commit their crime," said acting Assistant Attorney General Thomas O. Barnett, who heads the department's anti-trust division.
During the past 18 months, the division has obtained guilty pleas and collected more than $200 million in fines from five companies: Bayer AG, Syndial SpA, Crompton Corp., DuPont Dow Elastomers and Zeon Chemicals, along with indictments against six company executives. (By Jerry Seper)
August 12, 2005, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Former Bayer execs indicted
Two former executives of Bayer AG were indicted by a federal grand jury on charges they conspired to fix prices of rubber chemicals produced by the German-based company.
Charged Wednesday were Jurgen Ick, former head of Bayer's Rubber Business Group, and Gunter Monn, former head of marketing for the group.
The indictments are part of an ongoing federal investigation into an international price-fixing scheme involving Bayer and several other companies.
Bayer pleaded guilty last year and agreed to pay a fine of $66 million related to the case.
Robinson-based Bayer Corp., the parent firm's U.S. division, also pleaded guilty in October and paid a $33 million fine in a related price-fixing scheme.
Bayer Corp. spokesman Bill Allan said the company had no comment on this week's indictments.
Ick and Monn, who are both German citizens, never worked at Bayer's U.S. operations, according to the U.S. Department of Justice, which is handling the investigation from its San Francisco office.
Ick is charged with participating in the conspiracy from 1995 to 2001 and Monn joined the conspiracy around January 1997, the U.S. Justice Department said.
According to details provided by the Justice Department, the two former Bayer executives participated in meetings with officials from other rubber chemical producers in which they conspired to increase prices of their products sold in the United States and elsewhere, and later to quote those fixed prices.
Rubber chemicals, which generate about $1 billion in sales annually in the United States, are additives used to improve strength and elasticity of products such as outdoor furniture, tires, hoses and shoes.
Since a 2003 reorganization of Bayer, the rubber chemicals unit has been part of Bayer Polymers.
Two other former Bayer executives, Martin Petersen and Wolfgang Koch, along with two former executives from Connecticut-based Crompton Corp., pleaded guilty last year to participating in the same conspiracy.
Koch was recently sentenced to a four-month prison term and a $50,000 fine. The other three have yet to be sentenced.
Crompton paid a $50 million fine.
Ick and Monn face a maximum penalty of three years in prison each and individual fines of $350,000.
The Justice Department's antitrust division, along with the FBI, said five companies had entered guilty pleas in connection with the case in the last 18 months.
Besides Bayer and Crompton, Syndial S.p.A. of Italy; DuPont Dow Elasomers, a joint venture of DuPont Co. and Dow Chemical Co.; and Kentucky-based Zeon Chemicals also pleaded guilty. (Joyce Gannon