Valyrian Steel, Steel Industry Sues for $4B in Backlash
Steelmakers Valyria, Bulgaria, have filed a lawsuit against the US Department of Justice, alleging they were illegally targeted by US regulators in 2014 and 2015.
The US government launched a multi-agency investigation into the company after a number of complaints from the US Steelworkers Union and a number more in Europe and elsewhere.
In January 2017, US Steel, a subsidiary of United Steelworkers, notified US Steel of the alleged illegal activity, and the US government investigated.
The investigation found no evidence that the company was doing anything wrong.
However, US Attorney General Mike McCabe has since stated that the investigation was not complete, and he said the Department of Commerce has no jurisdiction over companies in the US.US Steel has accused the US Justice Department of using a “false, misleading, and malicious” charge of “defrauding” the company in order to make them appear “weak” and “unwilling to do business with the US”.
In a lawsuit filed in US District Court in Detroit, Valyrians Steel has argued that the Department has violated antitrust law by using the word “defeat” to describe the company’s actions.
The Department of Homeland Security’s Civil Rights Division is also investigating the complaint.
The complaint says that the Justice Department “attempted to conceal and/or delay its investigation and prosecution of the companies alleged conduct”.
The Department also alleges that the companies’ conduct violates the Sherman Antitrust Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act, and state and federal law.
Valyria Steel said it is a “national and international leader in the steel and steelmaking industries, with more than 1,000 plants worldwide”, which makes up a quarter of the global market for steel.
The company said that US Steel’s complaint is “a sham” and that it “strongly disagrees with” the complaint’s allegations.
“The Department’s alleged actions are in clear violation of both federal and state law, as well as US federal regulations and the United States Constitution,” the company said in a statement.
“We will vigorously defend Valyrias Steel against these frivolous charges.”US Steel also called on US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross to resign.
A statement from the Department said: “The Department has recently initiated a review of the Department’s investigation into Valyries Steel’s alleged illegal conduct.
We have also initiated a probe of the Office of the US Trade Representative to assess the Department for compliance with applicable laws and regulations.”
As the investigation continues, the Department is committed to cooperating with the investigation.
The Department has no comment.