In the first week of October 2002, EU Commission officials and their counterparts from national competition authorities visited ExxonMobil offices in Europe in the framework of an investigation in the asphalt business.
The inspections follow suspicions of one or more cartels in the bitumen sector in the Dutch, Belgian/Luxembourg and Spanish markets.
The European Commission has confirmed that several other major companies were also visited in the framework of this asphalt investigation, including the Royal Dutch/ Shell Group, whose offices in Capelle aan den Ijssel, near Rotterdam, were searched by EU investigators.
‘Shell strictly complies with the law and we vigorously reject any accusation of price fixing,’ said a spokesperson from Shell International Limited. ‘Shell is confident of the outcome of the enquiry.’
In a separate investigation, Crompton Corporation been contacted by the US and European Union authorities concerning an investigation into allegations of collusive dealings in the rubber chemicals industry.
The company and several of its employees have been issued grand jury subpoenas in connection with that investigation, which is still in its early stages.
Neither Crompton nor any of its employees has been charged with any wrongdoing. The company is said to be co-operating fully with the authorities and is conducting its own internal investigation to determine all relevant facts.