BMW fined by UK watchdog over information request

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(Reuters) - The UK's anti-trust regulator fined German luxury carmaker BMW 30,000 pounds ($36,519) plus a further daily penalty of 15,000 pounds on Thursday over a disputed information request related to an ongoing auto industry probe.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it believes BMW holds information important to the probe it launched in March over suspected anti-competitive conduct in relation to recycling of old or written-off vehicles.

The European Commission at the same time launched a parallel investigation into a possible breach of the EU's cartel rules, with investigators carrying out raids on Renault and Stellantis. Ford was served with a notice by the CMA.

BMW said in March it would respond to regulators' information requests but the CMA said that while the company's British unit had provided information, "the wider BMW Group has failed to comply fully with the CMA's legal request, and has claimed the CMA does not have jurisdiction."

The regulator added it does not accept BMW's argument.

BMW said in an emailed statement that the "CMA does not have the legal power to compel foreign companies to produce documents held entirely outside the UK jurisdiction".

It said it did not question the CMA's right to investigate whether UK competition law may have been infringed and said its UK unit was fully cooperating with the regulator, while BMW AG was fully cooperating with the EU Commission in its investigation.

The CMA said the daily penalty will continue to accumulate until BMW provides the requested information, or the watchdog issues an infringement decision, or closes the case.

($1 = 0.8215 pounds)

(Reporting by Nick Carey in London, Pushkala Aripaka and Sinchita Mitra in Bengaluru, and Christina Amann in Berlin; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri, Kirsten Donovan)


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