FBI joins battle against soaring prices

The Department of Justice has vowed to crack down on ‘corporate greed’

The US Department of Justice announced on Thursday that it would investigate and punish companies found to be “exploiting supply chain disruptions for illicit profit,” as the White House continues to blame rising prices on “corporate greed.”

In a statement, the DOJ said it would work to “deter, detect and prosecute those who would exploit supply chain disruptions to engage in collusive conduct.” The DOJ also said it would prioritize “any existing investigations where competitors may be exploiting supply chain disruptions for illicit profit.”

“While many individuals and businesses across various sectors in the economy have responded and will continue to respond to supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic with laudable ingenuity,” the department declared, “others may seek to use supply chain disruptions as a cover for collusive schemes.”

For those who seek to exploit supply chain disruptions for their own illicit gain, the Antitrust Division, along with the FBI, will investigate and prosecute criminal violations of the antitrust laws

Evidence of individuals or businesses conspiring to “fix prices or wages, rig bids or allocate markets” will result in prosecution, the DOJ warned, calling on members of the public to report those suspected of such activity.

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FILE PHOTO: A empty shopping cart sits in front of early empty shelves of meat at a supermarket in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 4, 2022.
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Assistant Attorney General Jonathan Kanter said in his own statement that “temporary supply chain disruptions” should not be allowed “to conceal illegal conduct.”

“The Antitrust Division will not allow companies to collude in order to overcharge consumers under the guise of supply chain disruptions,” he said.

FBI Assistant Director Luis Quesada also noted that supply chain issues in the US have given criminals the opportunity to conspire to “fix prices and overcharge customers,” and vowed the intelligence agency would crack down on those engaging in the practice.

The Biden administration has repeatedly blamed price increases in the US on “corporate greed,” and in December, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki claimed “the greed of meat conglomerates” was responsible for the huge rise in meat prices.

However, meat is not the only product that has seen a huge price increase since Biden’s inauguration last year.

READ MORE: Costs of food, shelter & fuel in US continue to soar

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, between November 2020 and November 2021, gasoline prices increased by 58.1%, while new vehicles and used cars went up by 11.1% and 31.4%. The prices of food in general increased by 6.1%.

Conservatives have criticized the Biden administration for blaming rising prices on corporate greed, pointing out that such levels of inflation were not present under the Trump administration, which was also affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

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