According to sources from the Brazilian government, searches and seizures made in connection with its investigation "yielded remarkable evidence" of a price-fixing cartel among refrigerant compressor manufacturers. News reports state that the investigation began near the end of 2008 when one of the companies advised authorities of the alleged cartel in exchange for administrative and criminal immunity. On or about February 17, 2009, media reported that Brazilian competition authorities raided the offices of Whirlpool S.A. in connection with its potential involvement in a global price-fixing and market allocation conspiracy in the market for compressor products. In addition, the Brazilian police noted that the companies involved in the alleged conspiracy had been exchanging confidential information for more than 12 years.
Similarly, the European Commission, the European Union's antitrust authority, revealed that the Commission carried out unannounced inspections at the premises of compressor makers in several member states for possible breaches of antitrust rules, including price-fixing and customer allocation. Likewise, the United States Department of Justice ("DOJ") confirmed that it is investigating possible antitrust violations in the refrigeration compressor industry. A Department of Justice spokesperson confirmed that the DOJ is "coordinating with other foreign competition authorities." The DOJ also confirmed the existence of a grand jury and that grand jury subpoenas had been issued to several companies, including Whirlpool and Tecumseh.
If you purchased refrigerant compressors directly from a refrigerant compressor manufacturer, such as Whirlpool, Embraco, Tecumseh, Panasonic, Danfoss, or ACC, you may have paid too much as a result of antitrust violations. If you are interested in learning more about this case, please do not hesitate to contact us at (415) 477-6700 or click here.