Today in the Fortune 500: P&G, Unilever fined for laundry detergent cartel, BP gets extension for Arctic drilling deal and Senator Levin says Goldman Sachs duped clients

April 14, 2011, 7:38 PM UTC
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AT LEAST IT WAS AN ECO-FRIENDLY CARTEL The European Commission decided to fine Procter & Gamble (PG) and Unilever $456.3 million because of a laundry detergent cartel that they operated with Henkel. The three companies started working together on an environmental initiative to reduce the impact of big-box powder laundry detergents, then fixed prices on detergent products between 2002 and 2005. Henkel won’t be fined because it received immunity for turning the other companies in. [Wall Street Journal]

BP’S ARCTIC DEAL ON ICE Russian company OAO Rosneft agreed to give BP an extension on its deadline to seal a deal to drill in the Arctic. BP (BP) originally announced an alliance with Rosneft in January, but one of BP’s partners in a different venture, Russian company TNK-BP, sees Rosneft as a competitor and has worked to block the agreement. BP now has until May 16 to negotiate the deal, which, under the original terms, would have terminated on April 14. [Wall Street Journal]

DUPED Yesterday, Senator Carl Levin said that Goldman Sachs (GS) misled clients about the safety of securities tied to the housing market. The statement is the result of a two-year investigation into the causes of the financial crisis. Levin said that federal prosecutors should look into whether Goldman took a financial position against the mortgage market to profit–something that Goldman executives denied under oath when they testified in Congress last year. [Bloomberg]

VIAGRA EVERLASTING Pfizer is scrambling to keep profiting off of its blockbuster drug Viagra, which will face competition from cheaper generics next year. One piece of that effort is a chewable version of the drug, called Viagra Jet, which Pfizer (PFE) has already started selling in Mexico. [New York Times]

IDENTITY THEFT AT MCDONALD’S The U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement arrested three McDonald’s (MCD) managers in Savannah, Georgia for selling stolen identities to prospective employees. In addition to the agents, the ICE arrested nine immigrants working at the restaurants. [Wall Street Journal]

UNJAMMING TRAFFIC Though it’s early days for the technology, IBM (IBM) is working on a way to keep commuters out of traffic. The company has teamed up with Caltrans and the University of California at Berkeley to create a program that uses data from people’s GPS coordinates and road sensors to create personalized routes that optimize commuting time. [Fast Company]