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European Commission Raids Intel Germany, Computer Retailers

European Commission officials descend on chipmaker's German offices Tuesday in pursuit of evidence of rebates and payments to OEM and retail partners in exchange for dump AMD products.

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A spokesperson for the Santa Clara, Calif.-based chip giant's German offices confirmed an "ongoing" raid by the European Union's executive branch in a report filed by Thomson Financial News at 10:57am EST. The EC, which formally charged Intel with anti-competitive practices last July, is investigating claims that Intel gave rebates to European OEM partners in exchange for limiting CPUs from rival chipmaker Advanced Micro Devices in the partners' product mix, an EU executive reportedly told Thomson.

A DSG spokesperson also told the news agency that its offices in Hemel Hemstad, U.K. had been raided by EC officials acompanied by British national competition authorities. DSG operates through retail outlets Currys, PC World and Dixons, among others.

The commission had also raided the offices of an unknown number of European retailers in addition to DSG, as well as an unnamed computer chip manufacturer, according to Thomson.

In addition to the alleged Intel rebates to OEMs, the EC contends that Intel paid an OEM "to either delay or cancel the launch of a product line incorporating an AMD-based CPU" and offered CPUs to partners at "below-average cost," according to Thomson.

Intel faces penalties of up to 10 percent of its global annual sales if found guilty on the EC charges. Other investigations into alleged anti-trust practices by Intel are ongoing in other regional venues around the world, including Asia and the United States.

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