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rate fixing Competition watchdog fines car leasing companies for collusion

cars

The firms were swapping information on rates for years, COMCO said.

(Keystone / Walter Bieri)

The Swiss competition commission (COMCO) has fined eight car leasing firms a total of CHF30 million ($30.4 million) for having swapped information on rates. 

The fines were announced on Thursday and come after some years of regular and systematic information exchanges between the companies on interest rates, COMCO announcedexternal link. Such collusion is forbidden as it could allow car manufacturers and dealers to rig higher prices to the detriment of consumers. 

The companies involved are AMAG Leasing AG, BMW Financial Services, FCA Capital Suisse SA, Multilease AG, Opel Finance SA, PSA Finance Suisse SA, RCI Finance SA, Ford Credit Switzerland, and Mercedez-Benz Financial Services Schweiz. 

The last company in the list was the first company to blow the whistle on its own conduct, and thus avoided receiving any sanctions, says COMCO. All firms that self-reported to the competitions watchdog received lower sanctions. 

The largest fine is for AMAG, at CHF8.5 million. Proceedings continue against Ford Credit Switzerland, who has not yet come to a settlement to put an end to the illicit practice. 

The decision may be appealed to the Federal Administrative Court. 

Keystone-SDA/Reuters/dos

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