UPDATE 1-Deutsche Bahn seeks $2.6 bln damages from airlines

Mon Dec 1, 2014 7:09am EST
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* Deutsche Bahn seeks total of 2.1 billion euros

* Says Schenker unit was overcharged for cargo services

* Company says prepared to settle out of court (Recasts with overall damages sought, adds details on U.S. suit, background)

BERLIN, Dec 1 (Reuters) - State-controlled German rail company Deutsche Bahn is seeking a total of about 2.1 billion euros ($2.6 billion) in damages in Germany and United States from air freight carriers that were involved in a cartel.

The separate suits relate to an air cargo cartel first exposed seven years ago that triggered fines in the European Union and in the United States.

The rail monopoly is seeking 1.2 billion euros in damages plus 560 million euros in interest in a suit filed with a court in Cologne, plus another $370 million in the United States, Deutsche Bahn said in a statement on Monday.

The U.S. portion could increase to about $1.1 billion if the court exercises its option to treble damages in the case, it said.

European regulators fined 11 airlines 800 million euros in 2010 in the price fixing case, which opened the door to private claims.

Deutsche Bahn says its freight business Schenker was overcharged for air cargo services for more than six years as carriers colluded in setting fuel and security surcharges.   Continued...