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Dairy Execs Charged with Cartel Establishment

The Special Corruption Magistrate has summoned executives of six of the country's major dairy firms on criminal charges of forming a "milk cartel."

The charges are based on reports from livestock breeders that the companies banded together to push down milk prices paid to producers.

The accused are charged with criminal extortion and harming suppliers and are brought against 10 senior executives, including CEOs and managers, of the dairy firms Mevgal, Fage, Delta, Olympos, Nestle and Agno-Kolios, for misdeeds committed in the years 2004-2006.

The accusations include exerting pressure and threatening dairy farmers with exclusion from all markets unless they sold their milk at very low prices.

An investigation was launched based on complaints filed by dairy farmers, who confirmed that they had been forced to sell below a the fixed price ceiling.

The accused deny the charges claiming that their actions were dictated by free competition and the freedom to select suppliers of raw materials.