Extracts from my article on how the top six Paris hotels were caught fixing prices.
Fines ranged from 258,000 euros for the Hotel de Crillon to 55,000 euros for the Hotel Meurice. The Hôtel George V was fined 115,000; the Hôtel Plaza Athénée, E106,000; the Hôtel Ritz, E104,000; and Le Bristol, E81,000.
Email featured prominently in the government's case:
"I have the pleasure here of sending you our results and await yours," a sales coordinator at the George V, identified only as Madame X, said in an e-mail dated Feb. 2, 2001, sent to counterparts at the Hôtel Ritz, the Hôtel Plaza Athénée, the Hôtel Meurice, the Hôtel de Crillon and Le Bristol.
The e-mail included a chart showing levels of occupancy, average room prices and revenue information for the previous December.
They were not very happy to have us reporting on this story.
In the gold-festooned lobby of the Hôtel de Crillon, housed in a building constructed for Louis XV on the Place de la Concorde in the middle of Paris, the communications director declined to make any comment on the fines and insisted that a reporter attempting to speak with guests leave the premises immediately.
Some were not surprised by the price fixing.
A frequent guest at the Hôtel Meurice, an opulent hotel that is owned by the Brunei Investment Agency, said he was not surprised by the collusion. "In this level of hotel you can always negotiate the level of prices anyways," said Luc Janssen, a Belgian who stays at the hotel often.
In what other sectors is price fixing likely or highly suspected?