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10 Apr 2017

David Corker comments on the CMA campaign to curb cartels in Compliance Week

The United Kingdom’s competition regulator has launched its first-ever advertising campaign to entice “insiders” to blow the whistle on cartels for cash and for companies to gain immunity from prosecution if they inform on their co-conspirators first.

The Competition and Markets Authority’s (CMA) campaign, called “Cracking down on Cartels,” wants to make more people aware that they can potentially earn a reward of up to £100,000 if they report on any illegal activity they witness that results in a prosecution. Informants will also be promised anonymity.

David Corker, a partner at criminal law firm Corker Binning, brands the CMA’s announcement as a “PR stunt” to “make it look like the CMA is a tough and proactive regulator” following “years of criticism that it was supine and ineffectual.” He adds that “the CMA receives loads of tip-offs all the time. It just often fails to act or does not gather evidence properly so that it can bring a case. It does not need to offer financial inducements to try to win cases.”

“I think that paying for information is a bad policy,” says Corker. “The information you get is often selective, prejudicial, and low-value. The Financial Conduct Authority considered taking a similar approach a few years ago and rightly decided against it. The CMA should do the same.”