Siemens accused of public transit cartel in Brazil

Public transit projects are expensive enough, cities don't need companies conspiring to push them higher.

Urban rail systems are already expensive projects for cities, they don't need price-fixing cartel to push the prices higher.

Brazil's São Paulo state is suing Siemens and other unnamed firms of banning together to rig the prices during bidding for the city's public transit projects, Reuters reports:

Paulo Stark, chief executive of Siemens' Brazilian unit, said in a statement that the company is cooperating with anti-trust officials as they investigate charges that Siemens and other companies formed a cartel that raised the price of contracts to build and operate train and subway lines between 1990 and 2007.

It's not the first time Siemens has been accused of corruption. In 2008, the German engineering firm paid a $1.6 billion fine to settle claims that they bribed countries around the world to win infrastructure contracts.

This latest civil suit won't do any favors for the Brazilian people who have been protesting since June against high public transit costs and corruption. Protests broke out once again over news of latest the corruption charges.

Earlier this week, Brazil announced that it is once again delaying the bidding process for the country's first high-speed rail connecting Sao Paulo to Rio de Janeiro, part of the government's planned $235 billion investment to improve transportation and energy infrastructure over the next decade.

Read more: Reuters

Photo: Flickr/Blog do Mílton Jung

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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