- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Two former top executives of Bayer AG, the German chemicals producer, were indicted yesterday by a federal grand jury in San Francisco in an international price-fixing conspiracy in the rubber chemicals industry, the Justice Department said.

In separate indictments, the grand jury named Jurgen Ick and Gunter Monn on charges of conspiring with other corporate and personal co-conspirators to suppress competition by fixing the prices of rubber chemicals sold in the United States and elsewhere.

Department officials said Mr. Ick, former head of Bayer’s rubber business group, was charged with participating in the conspiracy from 1995 to 2001.

They said Mr. Monn, former head of marketing of Bayer’s rubber business group, joined the conspiracy in January 1997. Both are German citizens.

The two men face prison terms of three years and fines totaling $350,000 each, if convicted.

Nearly $1 billion worth of rubber chemicals are sold annually in the United States; they are used to improve the elasticity, strength and durability of rubber products such as tires, outdoor furniture, hoses, belts and footwear.

“Anyone who participates in these type of international conspiracies that defraud Americans millions of dollars faces great risk of being caught and prosecuted, no matter where they are located or where they commit their crime,” said acting Assistant Attorney General Thomas O. Barnett, who heads the department’s anti-trust division.

During the past 18 months, the division has obtained guilty pleas and collected more than $200 million in fines from five companies: Bayer AG, Syndial SpA, Crompton Corp., DuPont Dow Elastomers and Zeon Chemicals, along with indictments against six company executives.

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