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WASHINGTON, D.C.- 21 January 2005 – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – D…

WASHINGTON, D.C.- 21 January 2005 – LAWFUEL – The Law News Network – DuPont Dow Elastomers L.L.C. has agreed to plead guilty and pay
an $84 million criminal fine for participating in an international conspiracy to
fix the prices of synthetic rubber which is used in a variety of products including
tires, adhesives, coated fabrics, furniture, and shoes, the Department of Justice
announced today.
Approximately $350 million of the rubber, polychloroprene, also known as
chloroprene rubber, is sold annually in the United States. DuPont Dow Elastomers
sells polychloroprene rubber under its neoprene brand name. Today’s charge is the
first in an ongoing investigation of price fixing in the polychloroprene industry.
In a felony case filed in U.S. District Court in San Francisco, DuPont Dow Elastomers, a Delaware company formed in 1996 by E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company
and The Dow Chemical Company, was charged with conspiring with its competitors to
fix the price of polychloroprene rubber sold in the United States and elsewhere
from August 1999 to April 2002. Under the plea agreement, which must be approved
by the court, DuPont Dow Elastomers agreed to assist the government in its ongoing
polychloroprene rubber investigation.

“Today’s plea agreement represents the Department’s ongoing efforts to protect
consumers from international price-fixing cartels,” said R. Hewitt Pate, Assistant
Attorney General in charge of the Department’s Antitrust Division. “These types of
cartels harm millions of American consumers, and companies that participate in them
face great risks of being caught and punished.”
DuPont Dow Elastomers is charged with carrying out the conspiracy with its
co-conspirators by:
* Participating in conversations and meetings to discuss prices of polychloroprene
rubber to be sold in the United States and elsewhere;

* Agreeing, during those conversations and meetings, to fix prices of
polychloroprene rubber to be sold in the United States and elsewhere;

* Participating in conversations and attending meetings concerning implementation of
and adherence to the agreements reached;

* Issuing price announcements and price quotations in accordance with the agreements
reached; and

* Exchanging information on the sale of polychloroprene rubber in the United States and elsewhere.

“This case follows in a line of cases filed within the last year in various
rubber-related industries such as rubber chemicals and NBR, another synthetic
rubber,” said Scott Hammond, the Antitrust Division’s Acting Deputy Assistant
Attorney General for Criminal Enforcement. “To date, these cases have yielded more
than $200 million in fines. The company charged today will provide valuable
assistance in our continuing investigation of the polychloroprene rubber industry.”

DuPont Dow Elastomers was charged with violating Section 1 of the Sherman Act,
which carries a maximum fine of $10 million for corporations and a maximum penalty
of three years imprisonment and a $350,000 fine for individuals for violations
occurring before June 2004. The maximum fine may be increased to twice the gain
the conspirators derived from the crime or twice the loss suffered by the victims
of the crime, if either of those amounts is greater than the statutory maximum
fine.

Today’s charges are the result of an ongoing criminal investigation being conducted
by the Antitrust Division’s San Francisco Field Office and the Federal Bureau of
Investigations in San Francisco.

British MP George Galloway and his opponent the Daily Telegraph will leave no stone unturned to sort out what could be a spectacular libel case.