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Brazilian state of Sao Paulo to sue German engineering giant Siemens over alleged price-fixing

The Brazilian state of Sao Paulo plans to file a lawsuit against German engineering giant Siemens AG to recover funds lost to an alleged price-fixing cartel involved in the construction and upkeep of the subway and train systems of the cities of Sao Paulo and Brasilia.

The state government said in a statement posted on its website Tuesday night that Siemens told Brazil's antitrust agency, CADE, of the existence of the cartel in May.

"Twice the company (Siemens) was asked to collaborate with the investigation and twice it refused to do so," state Gov. Gerald Alckmin said in the statement. "This is why we are taking legal action against the company to get total reimbursement."

The statement did not say how much the state hopes to recover.

Siemens said Wednesday in an emailed statement that it was fully cooperating with CADE.

"We are not aware of any lawsuit," and would have to assess any filing before commenting, Siemens said.

"Siemens will continue to act with maximum transparency and responsibility. Considering that CADE's cartel investigations are still underway and confidentiality is inherent to the case, Siemens cannot make any further comments," it said.

Last week, Marcelo Mendroni, a Sao Paulo state prosecutor, told reporters there were "strong indications that a criminal cartel was formed to bid for construction and maintenance contracts."

Besides Siemens, CAF of Spain, Mitsui of Japan, Bombardier of Canada and Alstom of France were allegedly involved in the cartel, the newspaper Folha de S. Paulo reported this week.