Andy Sharman:

Europe’s biggest truckmakers operated a cartel over 14 years going back to 1997 that held up the progress of emissions-reducing technology, according to leaked documents seen by the Financial Times.

EU officials carried out raids on several truckmakers in 2011, kicking off an antitrust investigation that led to a charge sheet being sent last month to the main manufacturers.

A statement of objections document states the scale and longevity of collusion alleged to have taken place between January 1997 and January 2011. It involved DAF, Daimler, Iveco, Scania, Volvo, which also owns Renault trucks, and MAN, the whistleblower in the case.

“All competitors participated directly and throughout the full duration in all the constituent elements of the cartel,” the document said.

Officials had previously indicated only that the alleged cartel was “very old”, involved a “large number” of companies and peaked about a decade ago.

The document also states the truckmakers “agreed the timing and price increase levels for the introduction of new emission technologies” to comply with tougher Euro 3 rules on nitrogen oxide and other emissions in 2000.