France's competition watchdog fined six top Paris hotels, including the Ritz and the Crillon, for operating an illegal cartel, according to the Competition Council.
After a four-year investigation, the regulator slapped fines totaling US$831,000 on the six hotels - which also included the George V, the Meurice, the Plaza Athenee and the Bristol - for sharing commercial information.
The Competition Council said executives at the six hotels "regularly exchanged confidential information on their respective commercial activities" by e-mail and at face-to-face meetings. The information they shared included future pricing plans, it said.
With average room rates of over US$800 per night, the six hotels dominated the luxury market in central Paris, the watchdog concluded.
The Hotel Crillon, built in 1758 for King Louis XV, was ordered to pay US$291,000, the biggest fine. The George V was fined US$135,000, the Plaza Athenee US$124,000, the Ritz US$122,000, the Bristol US$95,000 and the Meurice US$64,000, the AP reports.
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