EU raids smart card firms

Companies suspected of being involved in alleged price fixing cartel


BRUSSELS, Belgium_The European Union says it has raided offices of smart card companies in several member nations on suspicion they are in involved in a price fixing cartel.

The EU Commission says the unannounced inspections were carried out in October when they searched for proof that several companies were colluding to set prices, allocate customers and exchange sensitive information.

Smart card companies produce chips for telephone cards, bank, social security and identity cards. In Wednesday's announcement, the Commission did not name the companies involved.