Business Crime & Fraud
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) investigates suspected cartels and, in some cases, considers whether the bespoke cartel criminal offence has been committed by individuals.
This offence is designed to criminalise the most serious of “hardcore” cartels and aimed at those who devise and/or implement them. This offence has existed since 2003, although it was rewritten in 2014 in order to make it easier for the CMA to prosecute.
Companies cannot commit this offence; they are only subject to the civil enforcement regime. However, close co-operation between the company and the suspect individual often makes for the least worst outcome. In some instances, such a joined-up approach can result in the CMA offering immunity or leniency deals to all concerned. Opening an early dialogue with the company and/or the CMA can sometimes pre-empt a successful defence. Many cartel investigations are international and we have regularly worked alongside foreign lawyers, especially from the USA.
Corker Binning has acted for individual clients suspected of cartel complicity for many years. When the offence was introduced, we partnered with a major City firm to educate the business community. After the wording of the offence changed, we worked similarly with the CBI. See our blog where we commented upon what was then being proposed here. Over the years, we have acted for clients who are the subjects of cartel investigations in the automotive, avionic, electrical and construction sectors.
Also, see more info on our service offering: Competition & Markets Authority – Directors.