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Germany: sausage makers use loophole to skip antitrust fines

BERLIN (AP) — Germany’s antitrust authority says it had to revoke 238 million euros ($266 million) in fines imposed on sausage manufacturers for price collusion because the companies used a now-closed loophole in competition law.

The Federal Cartel Office in 2014 imposed fines totaling 338 million euros on 21 sausage makers. It announced Monday that it has now had to drop fines to the tune of 110 million euros against three firms, following a decision in October to cancel fines totaling 128 million euros against another two companies.

Under a now-revised law, when companies were officially taken over by another firm they disappeared from the books and fines couldn’t be enforced. That loophole, known as the “sausage hole” for its use in this case, has now been closed and parent companies made liable.

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