An introduction to the OFT's work against cartels.
Cartels are a particularly damaging form of anti-competitive behaviour - taking action against them is one of the OFT's priorities. Businesses as well as consumers could be a victim of a cartel.
Under the Competition Act 1998 and Article 101 of the EC Treaty, cartels are prohibited. Any business found to be a member of a cartel could be fined up to 10 per cent of its worldwide turnover. In addition, the Enterprise Act 2002 makes it a criminal offence for individuals to dishonestly take part in the most serious types of cartels. Anyone convicted of the offence could receive a maximum of five years imprisonment and/or an unlimited fine.
However, if a business ends its involvement and informs the OFT, it could be granted immunity from criminal prosecution under the Enterprise Act 2002, or immunity or a reduction in any fine that could be imposed by the OFT under the Competition Act and Article 101.
The following cases are among those currently being investigated by the Cartels and Criminal Enforcement Group:
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