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JUSTICE DEPARTMENT: SOS MANUFACTURER AGREES TO PAY $4.5 MILLION AND PLEAD GUILTY IN STEEL WOOL SOAP PAD PRICE FIXING CONSPIRACY

 WASHINGTON, Oct. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- The manufacturer of SOS steel wool scouring pads agreed to plead guilty and pay a $4.5 million fine after its chief competitor told the government that the companies discussed setting and increasing prices, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. Scouring pad manufacturing is a $100 million a year industry. The plea and fine must be accepted by the court.
 The Justice Department's Antitrust Division today said the nation's leading maker of steel wool scouring pads, Miles Inc., the maker of SOS, discussed prices and discount levels at meetings and by telephone throughout 1992 with Dial Corporation (NYSE: DL), the maker of Brillo, which is the only other major brand of steel wool scouring pads sold in the United States.
 Assistant Attorney General Anne K. Bingaman in charge of the Antitrust Division said: "The criminal charge reinforced the division's renewed focus on matters that significantly affect consumers. Miles' agreement to pay a substantial fine should serve as a meaningful deterrent to future price fixing of consumer goods."
 The investigation was triggered by information provided by the Dial Corporation, headquartered in Phoenix.
 Dial was not prosecuted since it participated in the division's Corporate Amnesty Program which grants amnesty to persons who first volunteer information regarding their involvement in price fixing and other antitrust violations.
 Bingaman declared the disposition of the matter "an example of how our amnesty policy should work. A just and swift resolution of a matter that might otherwise be complex and difficult to investigate was made possible by early and complete cooperation by one of the participants."
 The department filed a one-count felony charge against Miles, an Indiana corporation headquartered in Pittsburgh, in U.S. District Court in Chicago.
 The charge followed an investigation by the Litigation I Section of the Antitrust Division with the assistance of the U.S. Attorney's Office in Chicago. Miles Inc. cooperated in the investigation. With the disposition of charges, the Antitrust Division's investigation of the industry will be concluded.
 The maximum penalty for a corporation convicted of a Sherman Antitrust Act violation occurring after Nov. 16, 1990, is a fine not to exceed the greatest of $10 million, twice the gross pecuniary gain the corporation derived from the crime, or twice the gross pecuniary loss caused to the victims of the crime.
 -0- 10/28/93
 /CONTACT: U.S. Department of Justice, 202-616-2771/
 (DL)


CO: U.S. Department of Justice; Dial Corporation; Miles Inc. ST: District of Columbia IN: SU:

DC-KD -- DC039 -- 8206 10/28/93 17:47 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 28, 1993
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