The lawsuit of the 1,100 farmers towards the cotton cartel: “This has been a scam. They have been deceiving us for years” | EUROtoday

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The appointment with the lawyer is at 7:00 p.m. in a central bar in Maribez, a small district of the Sevillian municipality of Los Palacios, within the Bajo Guadalquivir area. epicenter of cotton cultivation in Spain. This space concentrates a great a part of the 51,000 hectares that within the final agricultural marketing campaign produced 127,000 tons of this plant all through Andaluca. This determine represents 99% of all of the cotton produced within the nation as an entire.

Little by little, the farmers are arriving. They wait some time to start out the speak. Time have to be given for these furthest behind to complete the duty within the discipline. With a severe gesture, they sit within the bar room. A big rating of cotton farmers have come to search out out concerning the collective lawsuit that the Catalan legislation agency is making ready. Redi Abogados, specialised in claims to cartels. When you hear the phrase cartel, it’s related to medication, however there are others, the lawyer begins Albert Poch.

In the cotton sector they realize it nicely. Throughout new agricultural campaasBetween 2004 and 2012, six ginning corporations and their dad or mum corporations, to which cotton producers bought this plant, agreed on costs. In this fashion, farmers had been receiving quantities a lot decrease than what they had been entitled to for nearly a decade. All of this was licensed by the National Commission of Markets and Competition (CNMC), which in 2013, sanctioned the gins with a million euros.

Lawyer Albert Poch, during the talk with Marib farmers

Lawyer Albert Poch, through the speak with Maribez farmers affected by the cotton cartel.GOGO LOBATO

All of them didn’t adjust to the Law on the Defense of Competition, which prohibits any collective settlement, determination or suggestion, or concerted or consciously parallel observe, that has as its object, produces or could produce the impact of stopping, proscribing or distort competitors in all or a part of the nationwide market. His motion was categorised as very severe infraction by the CNMC.

A fantastic of 400,000 euros

Years later, the National Court and the Supreme Court confirmed the accountability of the ginners, though they lowered the quantity of the fantastic to only over 400,000 euros. The 2019 Supreme Court ruling implies that farmers who bought their cotton to the sanctioned ginners have proper now to assert them to the businesses accountable for the cartel compensation for damagesequal to the value they stopped receiving.

The Redi Abogados legislation agency has already reached an settlement with greater than a thousand farmers from throughout Andaluca to start out a pioneer lawsuit through which they may declare, by a Commercial Court, all of the quantities that the cotton farmers stopped receiving. This has been a rip-off. They've been fooling us for yearscomplains a veteran farmer from Maribez. Next to him, Claudio Chinchilla, 93 years outdated, concludes: we aren’t going to steal something from anybody. It's our cash.

The complaining about being a millionaire, however an actual quantity has not but been set as a result of affected farmers proceed to enroll nowadays. The deadline to file the declare ends on May 31. For now, they’re going greater than 1,100 cotton farmers, explains to EL MUNDO the lawyer Poch, who has been making ready this lawsuit for nearly a yr and giving informative talks in cooperatives, irrigation communities and even in bars in cities all through Andaluca, with the intention of informing all these affected of their proper to assert. Although greater than a thousand farmers have signed as much as the lawsuit, it’s estimated that the cotton cartel affected about 6,500 cotton farmers all through Andalusia.

But bearing in mind that the cartel started to agree on costs twenty years in the pastThere are some affected farmers who’ve already died or are very outdated and like to not begin a lawsuit that would final for years, he tells this newspaper. Azucena Gonzalezcommon secretary of the Union of Small Farmers and Ranchers of Andaluca (UPA) Cadiz. It was, exactly, this agricultural affiliation that denounced the gins earlier than the CNMC.

More than 33 million

The lawyer Poch calculates that every farmer will have the ability to recuperate about 10 cents for every kilo of cotton bought between 2004 and 2012. For each ten hectares of cotton and its 3,000 kilos, could possibly be recovered round 30.000 euros plus curiosity, based on the figures that the agency is contemplating. If the 1,100 farmers who will provoke the lawsuit had, on common, ten hectares, the declare could be 33 million euros. Plus the pursuits.

However, the lawyer clarifies that it’s nonetheless early to place an quantity on the declare as a result of amongst these affected there are farmers who planted 5 hectares of cotton and others 500. 50% of the manufacturing is within the palms of 90% of the farmers and the one other 50%, within the remaining 10%, specifies.

Right now they’re amassing invoices and financial institution paperwork that show the costs they charged from the cartel corporations. Although the lawyer is satisfied that they will win the lawsuit, as a result of they’ve the decision of the CNMC and the rulings of the National Court and the Supreme Court, the necessary factor now could be to gather all the required paperwork. The proof that every farmer contributes to the category motion within the Commercial Court They have to be as stable as if it had been a person motion, the lawyer explains within the speak.

To make issues worse, the gins have been sanctioned twicesince they had been additionally fined within the 90s. But these irregular practices come out very low cost, denounces Azucena Gonzlez, from UPA Cdiz. In reality, after agreeing on cotton costs, they saved a number of million euros and solely needed to pay a fantastic of 400,000 euros. In Maribez they appear satisfied that they have to litigate and declare what’s theirs. Meanwhile, the gins are silent, for now. This newspaper contacted a number of of them, however they averted providing their model.