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In recent years, the European Commission has led the way in attacking cartels. For instance, in February it imposed fines equal to $1.3 billion against the elevators and escalators industry and $993 million against the gas-insulated switchgear industry. Last year, the EC imposed fines of $687 million against the synthetic rubber chemicals industry. And in 2001, it fined the vitamins industry $1 billion. But while government authorities have obtained penalties, the private victims of these cartels have had little recourse to obtain compensation.

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