EU denies Nintendo rap

Decision on cartel issue due Oct. 30

BRUSSELS — European anti-trust regulators denied Friday press reports that any decision has yet been made in the Nintendo cartel case.

The EU formally launched the probe in April 2000, and while a decision on the matter is due shortly, Amelia Torres, a spokesperson for the EU’s anti-trust department told Daily Variety that no verdict had yet been reached on Nintendo’s guilt. “A decision will not be made until Wednesday and newspaper reports to the contrary are premature,” she said.

Nintendo, the Japanese creator of such videogame legends as “Super Mario” and “Donkey Kong,” is being investigated by the EU Commission’s anti-trust regulators on suspicion of violating the territory’s competition laws by operating an illegal cartel. Nintendo is alleged to have kept prices for game consoles and video games artificially high by carving up the European market, with its subsidiaries, and by preventing sales from one European Union country to another.

If the console maker is found to have broken European antitrust laws it will face a significant fine. The amount of the possible fine is also unconfirmed. Should the final verdict be guilty, Nintendo will also be obliged to radically alter its European distribution system. A spokesperson for Nintendo would only confirm that they expect to be informed of the decision in the coming days.