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German Beer Sellers Fined $100 Million for Price-Fixing Scheme

They were in cahoots with AB-InBev

German beer retailers have been slapped with big fines after being caught colluding with beer giant AB-InBev in a price-fixing scheme.

According to the Wall Street Journal, "Germany's Federal Cartel Office has fined several retailers a combined total of €90.5 million ($103.2 million)" over the price-fixing scandal. WSJ reports that the news comes at an especially embarrassing time for the country, which is currently celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reinheitsgebot, or beer purity law, which is meant to protect consumers from inflated beer prices.

The retailers were found to have colluded with the German subsidiary of AB-InBev to fix beer prices — specifically for its Beck's, Hasseröder and Franziskaner brands — between 2006 and 2009. AB-InBev itself was not fined, as its cooperation helped authorities in the inquiry.

The probe also fined one German retailer for fixing the price of Haribo candy and another for fixing the price of coffee.

This isn't the first time AB-InBev has faced criticism over its "German" beers recently. Last year, the company was paid out millions of dollars following a class-action lawsuit claiming it tricked consumers into thinking Beck's, which has been made in St. Louis since 2012, was brewed in Germany.

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