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Goldman Sachs Says EU Accuses Firm in Cable Price-Fixing

Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS), the fifth- biggest U.S. bank by assets, said the European Commission told the firm it may have to pay fines in a case relating to price fixing by power-cable companies.

The European Commission issued a “statement of objections” that proposed making the firm liable for some or all of any fine levied against an Italian cable company in which Goldman Sachs funds held stakes, the New York-based bank said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission today.

Goldman Sachs’s private-equity funds bought the power-cable unit and a telecommunications cable business from Milan-based Pirelli & C. SpA in 2005 and renamed the business Prysmian Cables & Systems, which became Prysmian SpA (PRY) in an initial public offering in 2007.

Prysmian stock dropped in February 2009 after the company disclosed that it was cooperating with antitrust regulators’ investigation of the cable market. Goldman Sachs funds sold shares in Prysmian later that year.

Last month the European Commission sent complaints to 12 companies “that may have colluded to allocate markets and customers for underground and submarine power cable projects and fix prices,” the Commission said in a statement on July 6. Prysmian said on July 5 that it had received an antitrust complaint and that it would defend itself.

The Commission has proposed holding Goldman Sachs liable “under the concept of parental liability under EU competition law,” Goldman Sachs said in today’s filing, referring to the European Union.

To contact the reporter on this story: Christine Harper in New York at charper@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Scheer at dscheer@bloomberg.net.

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