Alliance One Should Lose Appeal Over EU Fines, Court Aide Says

Alliance One International Inc. (AOI) should lose a challenge at the European Union’s highest court over antitrust fines levied for fixing the prices paid to Spanish growers for tobacco, an adviser to the region’s top court said.

The EU’s Court of Justice should uphold a fine of 1.8 million euros ($2.3 million) levied on Alliance One and its subsidiary Standard Commercial Tobacco Co. by the European Commission for their liability concerning another unit’s involvement in the cartel, said Advocate General Juliane Kokott in a non-binding opinion today. The court follows this advice, at least in part, most of the time.

The European Commission, the 27-nation EU’s antitrust regulator, in October 2004 fined five companies a total of 20 million euros for price-fixing and production-sharing between 1996 and 2001 in the Spanish tobacco-processing market. Alliance One lost an earlier challenge against the fine.

A call to Alliance One in Morrisville, North Carolina, wasn’t immediately returned outside business hours.

The case is C-14/11, Alliance One International and Others v Commission, at the European Union Court of Justice.

To contact the reporter on this story: Aoife White in Brussels at awhite62@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net.

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