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Intel hit by price protection scam

Avnet suspends staff amid allegations of foul play

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Intel has said it expects to receive an explanation from components distributor Avnet, following allegations that three of its sales staff were suspended for making bogus price protection claims. The chip giant said it expects a report from Avnet by tomorrow outlining what has happened and explaining what remedies Avnet plans to put in place. The employees at Avnet's PCC components division in Stevenage allegedly broke seals on Intel processor packages and replaced Intel chips with grey product, according to this week's PC Dealer. It was believed the staff then went on to apply for price protection from Intel for the chips, but were caught out when the vendor conducted an investigation. A former Avnet employee was also believed to be involved. An Intel representative told The Register: "Avnet will send us a report today or tomorrow on what has happened and what they are planning to do about it." Avnet UK refused to comment. Didier Gerfaud, Avnet's European communications director, admitted: "I'm aware of some rumours, but the response is still the same... No comment." Avnet, a US semiconductor and components distributor, has three divisions in the UK -- Avnet Access, semiconductors; Avnet Time, passive and interconnect; and Avnet PCC, PC components. It started the UK operation in 1991 after acquiring the Access Group Ltd, a semiconductor distributor based in Letchworth. Last year's worldwide sales for the group stood at $5.92 billion. ®

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