U.S. antitrust enforcer, FBI announce effort to deter, identify collusion

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WASHINGTON, Feb 17 (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department's Antitrust Division and the FBI announced an initiative on Thursday to detect and prosecute companies that take advantage of supply chain disruptions to collude with rivals in order to raise prices.

The administration has made fighting inflation a priority as U.S. consumer prices rose solidly in January, leading to the biggest annual increase in inflation in 40 years. read more

The division is making existing investigations a priority if it appears that competitors may have used supply chain disruptions, potentially caused by the coronavirus pandemic or shipping woes, as a way to hide collusion, the department said.

"The FBI and our law enforcement partners will continue to collaborate and investigate schemes that violate our antitrust laws and stifle our economic recovery," said Assistant Director Luis Quesada of the FBI's Criminal Investigative Division in a statement.

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Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Stephen Coates

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