US components distributor Avnet has suspended three key sales staff price protection claims. at its UK personal computer components (PCC) division, following allegations of falsifying price protection claims to chip supplier Intel.
The three staff were alleged to have broken seals on Intel processor packages and replaced the bona fide chips with grey product. It is understood they then tried to claim price protection from the vendor for the chips but an investigation carried out by Intel revealed some discrepancies.
A former Avnet employee was also believed to be involved.
The PA to one of the suspended members of staff claimed he was 'away on personal business' and did not know when he would be back. 'We're being updated almost daily,' she added.
Avnet issued a statement claiming: 'The matter is an internal one and is therefore being dealt with internally'.
The Avnet US office said it did not comment on 'personnel issues'.
Intel also refused to comment.
One insider said Intel rival AMD, also a supplier to Avnet, had removed its rebate facility from the distributor.
But Rana Mainee, European market analyst and planning manager at AMD, sought to distance its decision from the suspension, insisting that any changes to Ts&Cs between AMD and Avnet had come about within the normal business process.
'The removal of Avnet's rebate was not done on the basis of the suspensions.
This will not change our relationship with the firm,' he added. 'We work with Avnet on a global basis. It is a matter between Avnet and Intel and we are happy with that.'
The suspension of the staff comes at the same time as the appointment of Actebis as a UK distributor for Intel last week, joining the firm's existing eight partners.
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