Competition watchdog raids major retailers

Germany’s federal competition watchdog raided the main offices of almost every large retail food and drugstore chain in the country on Thursday on suspicion of price-fixing. Among them were Edeka, Lidl, Metro, Rewe and Rossmann.

Competition watchdog raids major retailers
Photo: DPA

Some 56 Kartellamt employees and 62 police paid official visits to 15 companies because they suspect brand name product manufacturers may be working with retail companies to determine consumer prices on items like coffee, pet food, and candy. This kind of activity is forbidden by German law and offenders could face heavy fines.

“As long as companies or individuals cooperate with Kartellamt investigation of the accusations, the Kartellamt will give consideration to imposing sanctions within a discretionary frame,” the watchdog said in a statement.

Other suspected companies received letters regarding the matter, they confirmed.

Meanwhile the Federation of German Consumer Organisations (VZVB) demanded that the “ripped off customers” be compensated.

“If the suspicion of the Kartellamt is confirmed, it will shatter the trust of consumers in the social-market economy,” VZVB head Gerd Billen said.

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Pensioner arrested over letter-bomb attacks in Germany

A pensioner has been arrested in connection with letter bombs attacks at German food retail companies, police said Saturday.

Pensioner arrested over letter-bomb attacks in Germany
Photo: DPA

“Special forces police were able to arrest the man without resistance at his home,” the Heidelberg police and prosecutor's office said in a statement.

The suspect, a 66-year-old man living in Ulm and now in custody, had not been known to the police who said he has made no statement yet to them about the case.

“Investigators currently believe that it is unlikely that the suspect had sent other suspected letter bombs,” the police said.

On Wednesday, three people were taken to hospital when a letter bomb exploded at the German headquarters of discount supermarket Lidl.

Around 100 people were evacuated from the administrative building at the company's head offices in Neckarsulm, western Germany.

A similar explosion was also reported in nearby Eppelheim at the Wild drinks company, whose products include Capri-Sun brand.

Authorities also confirmed that an explosive had been identified and disarmed at a parcel distribution centre at Munich airport on Wednesday night.

The parcel, which was addressed to the Bavaria-based baby food company Hipp, was the third such attack in a matter of days.