Subscriber login Close [x]
remember me
You are not logged in.

Drinks firms threatened by action

Published:  23 July, 2008

Irish industry for court after price probe

The Irish Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has sanctioned the the country's first criminal prosecution for price fixing after a five-year investigation by the Competition Authority. He has also granted immunity to a former executive of the industry in return for testimony against a number of firms. The charge will be levelled under the Competitions Act (1996) and company executives found to be directly involved could face jail terms of up to one year. Companies found to be involved could also forfeit up to 10pc of their annual turnover, to a maximum of 3m. The DPP's decision follows a 12-month examination of the case prepared by Competition Authority inspectors into unfair practices and price fixing in the drinks sector. Several drinks firms already face civil actions by the Competition Authority. Although undreds of interviews were conducted the inquiry only exploded into life when an executive took legal action against one of the companies which formerly employed him. Allegations of anti-competitive practices came to light and the Competition Authority then contacted the individual to clarify specific issues. The man is now poised to offer detailed information on the pricing policies of Irish drinks firms and alleged co-operation between firms on everything from distribution to sales.