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UPM bought itself out of raid

The Finnish group UPM tipped off the EU commission that unlawful price-fixing had taken place between several of the world’s largest paper producers, Norsk Skog included.

By tipping off the EU commission, UPM has obtained immunity in the case, according to the Swedish financial paper Dagens Industri.

Representatives from the Norwegian Competition Authority and the European Fair Trade Association’s (EFTA) surveillance unit ESA carried out a major raid against Norsk Skog’s headquarters at Øksenøya in Bærum, Norway, Tuesday morning. At the same time, similar raids took place at Norsk Skog’s competitors. The Swedish company Stora Ensco received unexpected visits at its offices in Stockholm, Düsseldorf and London.

An internal investigation from UPM the spring of 2003 got the whole show on the road. The company discovered that it had on several occasions acted in a way which could breach the competition laws in the EU and the EEA.

On January 15, the Finnish company contacted the EU commission in Brussels and handed over the information it had uncovered. Since that time the UPM has provided more information in the case, and the commission is now in possession of a substantial amount of information, including meeting reports and e-mails from single employees.

EU’s competition authorities have informed its colleagues in the US and Canada during the investigation. UPM has been promised immunity in Canada and will probably also receive it in the US.

The paper producers risks fines of up to ten percent of their turnover if they have participated in unlawful price-fixing or cartel establishment. In addition, people involved may face prison sentences.

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