Fish, Chocolate Included In Price-Fixing Crackdown Of $4.2 Billion Last Year

Ever heard of price-fixing chocolate? How about fish or rubber shoes? Those are just a few of the price-fixing schemes found by competition authorities in a record-breaking year of anti-trust abuse.

Fines for price-fixing, bid rigging and other antitrust abuses hit a record of $4.2 billion in 2013, reported Quartz.

Financial market scandals might get all the limelight, but there are some, unique, dodgy dealings afoot across the world.

For example — price-fixing chocolate in Canada is apparently a big problem, fish in Russia are under scrutiny for suspect activity and India’s rubber shoe industry has been hit with scandal.

And those are just a few of the markets where firms were tagged for colluding with their competition last year.

As for the U.S., well, there may be a reason it cost so much to replace your radiator hose: Last year, nine Japanese automotive companies, including Mitsubishi Electric Corp., pleaded guilty to a price-fixing conspiracy that targeted automakers such as General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co.

The Japanese companies agreed to pay $740 million in fines, while car companies operating in the U.S. faced inflated costs of more than $5 billion for parts, Bloomberg reported in September 2013.

Also last year, Apple was found to have conspired with some of the nation’s largest book publishers to fix prices in the e-book market. In October, Apple filed an appeal alleging the court excluded important testimony.

According to law firm Allen & Overy, 2014 looks to have more of the same in store when it comes to financial services. Investigations are on-going into suspicious activity involving a number of markets.

Cartels fix the prices for fish, shoes, chocolate and much more [Quartz]