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BRUSSELS: The EU's antitrust authority on Thursday fined German auto giants Volkswagen and BMW 875 million euros for colluding on the development of anti-pollution technology for diesel cars.

Launched after anti-cartel raids in 2017, the case marked yet another blow against the German auto-making sector, which was rocked by the devastating "dieselgate" emissions cheating scandal that broke in 2015. The case found that while the car giants had not formed a formal cartel, they had made illegal agreements to limit the introduction of "AdBlue" or urea to diesel engine exhaust gases, reducing its effectiveness as a way to produce cleaner emissions.

Daimler, which alerted the European Commission to the issue, was spared a fine.

"Today's case is about how legitimate cooperation has gone wrong.

Carmakers had developed a very good technology, but decided not to compete to exploit it to its full potential," EU competition chief Margrethe Vestager told reporters.

"Instead, they decided to collude by indicating to each other that none of them would aim at cleaning above the minimum standards required by law," Vestager added.

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