The U.S. Justice Department denied politics played a role in its decision last year to open an antitrust investigation of four automakers that reached an agreement with California on fuel-efficiency standards.

The department said it had a legitimate legal basis to believe that the companies -- Volkswagen Group, BMW AG, Honda Motor Co. and Ford Motor Co. -- violated antitrust laws, according to a June 19 letter to U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.

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DOJ Moves Investigation Ahead On California Collusion With Automakers

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