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Daimler refuse trucks were in cartel, EU court rules in damages case

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FILE PHOTO: Daimler AG sign is pictured at the IAA truck show in Hanover
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BRUSSELS (Reuters) -Refuse collection trucks were included in a European truck cartel the European Commission fined in 2016, the top EU court ruled on Monday, opening the door to claims from buyers of these vehicles.

The case was referred to the EU court in relation to a claim in 2016 for damages by the German district of Northeim against Daimler over two refuse trucks it bought in 2006 and 2007.

The claim followed a 2.93 billion euro ($3.00 billion) fine by the European Commission for truck producers, including Daimler, for participating in a cartel.

Daimler argued that refuse collection trucks were not covered by the Commission's cartel finding because they are specialised vehicles, which an EU request for information in excluded.

The Court of Justice of the European Union said the request for information did not define the products covered by anti-competitive conduct.

"The decision of the European Commission ... must be interpreted as meaning that specialised trucks, including household refuse collection trucks, fall within the scope of the products covered by the cartel found in that decision," court said at the end of its ruling.

Daimler said that while it accepted the court's decision, this only answered one of many questions that courts in German states are asking regarding claims for damages.

It said the court had not made any specific comment on damages and the company remained convinced that its customers had not suffered any.

($1 = 0.9764 euros)

(Reporting by Philip Blenkinsop; additional reporting by Ilona Wissenbach in Frankfurt, Editing by Louise Heavens and Bernadette Baum)

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