In January 2007 Areva was fined €53 million by the European Commission for rigging EU electricity markets through a cartel involving 11 companies, among which ABB, Alstom, Fuji, Hitachi Japan, AE Power Systems, Mitsubishi Electric Corp, Schneider, Siemens, Toshiba and VA Tech. According to the Commission, “between 1988 and 2004, the companies rigged bids for procurement contracts, fixed prices, allocated projects to each other, shared markets and exchanged commercially important and confidential information.” Siemens was given a fine of €396 million, more than half of the total, for its alleged leadership role in the cartel.
Despite EU Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes optimism, he declared after the judgement: “The commission has put an end to a cartel which has cheated public utility companies and consumers for more than 16 years”. The group now wants to create another electricity cartel operation in conjunction with South Africa’s much-maligned Eskom.
According to the Multinational Monitor, the company formerly known as Frametone has a troubled history. On February 18, 1982, French farmers forced police and nuclear workers to flee the test drilling site of a proposed nuclear plant in Carnet in western France. They used a novel antinuclear weapon: bees.