Coalition Against BAYER Dangers (Germany)
Press Release, December 5, 2007

”Those responsible should be behind bars”

BAYER, ENI, Dow, DuPont: EU slaps fines on rubber barons

The European Commission today fined BAYER, Denka Seiken, DuPont, Dow Chemical, ENI and Tosoh Corporation EURO 243.2 million for fixing prices in Europe in connection with the production of chloroprene rubber. Chloroprene rubber is a synthetic rubber mainly used to make hoses, transmission belts, condoms and shoe soles. According to the European Commission, the companies held "regular meetings to discuss prices, exchange sensitive commercial information" and to review their "illegal agreements."

The cartel operated between 1993 and 2002. Italy's ENI faces the highest portion of the fine at EUR132.2 million, after a 60% increase for repeat offending. Although BAYER was also a repeat offender it got immunity from fines for blowing the whistle on the cartel.

During the last few years BAYER has been convicted in a multitude of cases involving cartel offences. In 2005 alone, the company had to pay EUR 275 million in fines. “We are talking about sums of several hundreds of millions in these cartel arrangements. It is unthinkable that decisions of this magnitude were taken without the knowledge of the Chairman. Only when the responsible directors fear custodial sentences can a deterrent effect be assumed”, according to Philipp Mimkes from the Coalition Against BAYER Dangers. The group believes that the majority of illegal price fixing remains undiscovered. “It is consumers and taxpayers who pay the bill”, continues Mimkes. “It is unacceptable that those responsible for fraud worth millions are not criminally prosecuted”.

Last year the Coalition Against BAYER Dangers filed charges against the Board Chairman of the BAYER corporation, Werner Wenning, with the Cologne Public Prosecutor. Eberhard Reinecke, CBG`s lawyer: “The great extent of such cartel arrangements and the precautions taken with the accounting prove that there is a systematic business policy at work here. The Chairman of Bayer AG is therefore guilty of embezzlement.”

Recent cartels involving Bayer:

Please also see the charge brought against BAYER by CBG (German)