Police investigate big electrical firms for cartel pricing, corruption
By Peter Saunders
September 12, 2018 – Police in France have searched the offices of Legrand, Sonepar, Schneider Electric and Rexel, four of the country’s largest electrical equipment manufacturers and distributors, multiple times this summer as part of a cartel pricing and corruption probe.
Legrand has confirmed the most recent search of its premises took place on Sept. 6, during which the company says it co-operated fully with the authorities.
“Legrand is not able to comment on the investigations underway,” the company stated in a press release, “but reiterates it considers respect for the law and ethical principles to be of the utmost importance.
Spoksepeople for Schneider and Sonepar, too, have said they are co-operating with authorities.
International news agency Reuters explains the prosecutor’s office in Paris launched the investigation in June, following reports in April from the French Anti-Corruption Agency and the Competition Authority, which were concerned with a possible ‘secret deal’ between the four electrical firms to limit competition and increase prices.
The raids have been undertaken on suspicion of not only cartel pricing, which apparently could mean fines in the hundreds of millions of euros, but also bribery, forgery, breach of trust, tax fraud and misuse of corporate assets.