January 31, 2015 / 3:38 PM / in 3 years

BMW, Bosch join Deutsche Bahn in airline cartel damages claim

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German carmaker BMW and car supplier Bosch [ROBG.UL] said on Saturday they would join Deutsche Bahn [DBN.UL] in two claims for about 2.1 billion euros ($2.4 billion) in damages from air freight carriers who were involved in a cartel.

A BMW logo is seen on a car at the Brussels International Auto Show January 22, 2015. REUTERS/Yves Herman

The air cargo cartel, which included Europe’s biggest airline Lufthansa and British Airways, was first discovered seven years ago and triggered fines in the European Union and in the United States.

Confirming a report in German magazine WirtschaftsWoche, spokespeople for BMW and Bosch said the companies had joined the lawsuits, announced by Deutsche Bahn in December.

The magazine also reported that Continental, Kuehne + Nagel and Panalpina were seeking damages from the cartel members, but the companies could not immediately be reached for comment.

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.

The firm 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.

The airlines it is suing in Germany are Lufthansa, Air Canada, British Airways, Cargolux [CLUX.UL], Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, LAN, Qantas, SAS and Singapore Airlines.

In the United States, it is seeking damages from Air France, All Nippon Airways, Cargolux, KLM, Martinair, Qantas and SAS.

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

($1 = 0.8861 euros)

Reporting by Sabine Siebold; Writing by Harro ten Wolde; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky

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