EU slaps $416 million fine on power cable cartel

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BRUSSELS (AP) — The European Union's antitrust authority is imposing a 302 million-euro ($416 million) fine against 11 producers of high voltage power cables for operating a cartel.

EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said Wednesday the firms "knew very well that what they were doing was illegal" and therefore "acted with great secrecy."

The EU says the six European companies, three Japanese and two South Korean producers colluded to allocate customers between themselves from 1999 for about 10 years "on an almost worldwide scale."

The underground and submarine high voltage cables are typically used to connect power plants to the electricity grid, to interconnect power grids in different countries or to connect offshore wind farms.

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