On January 24, 2007 the Commission imposed a fine of €750 million on a cartel of eleven companies in the energy industry including Siemens, Areva, Alstrom, Schneider Electric, Hitachi Ltd and Mitsubishi Corp . Siemens was allegedly the ringleader and was fined €396 million. ABB, the whistleblower, received full immunity from fines under the Commission’s leniency programme. The Commission found that the companies had been involved in various forms of anti competitive behaviour for over sixteen years, involving price-fixing for gas insulated switchgears used to regulate the flow of electricity at power substations. In parallel, on February 7 and 8, 2007, Commission officials carried out unannounced inspections at the premises of several power transformer producers in France, Germany and Austria to investigate the possibility of a second cartel. Siemens and ABB confirmed that their premises had been subject to inspections and Siemens revealed that it had suspended three employees in connection with alleged price fixing.
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