This website uses cookies

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience. By using our website, you agree to our Privacy Policy

Sophie Cameron

Features and Opinion Editor, Solicitors Journal

Competition and Markets Authority strengthens enforcement against cartels

Competition and Markets Authority strengthens enforcement against cartels


The measures include an increase in the reward given to whistleblowers

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced measures to strengthen enforcement against cartels on 6 June, which includes increasing the reward to £250,000 granted to whistleblowers for reporting unlawful cartel activity to the regulator.

The CMA’s announcement highlights its ‘Cheating or Competing’ campaign page, which provides detailed information on the different types of illegal cartel activity, such as price fixing, bid rigging, market sharing, wage fixing and no poaching, as well as case studies that provide advice and guidance in relation to specific cases that the CMA has dealt with recently involving the construction industry.

The CMA has the ability to fine businesses that are found to have been involved in illegal cartels up to 10 percent of their annual turnover, individuals found to have been directly involved in such activities can face up to five years in prison, and company directors can be disqualified from holding director positions for up to 15 years. The CMA’s press release confirms that it is currently investigating cases of suspected cartel activities.

The CMA states that it will pay a reward to a whistleblower concerning cartel activity if the information concerned is significant in nature and leads to enforcement action by the CMA against those involved. The reward for providing such information is separate to the CMA’s leniency programme, which allows a company or individual that confesses to its involvement in a cartel to gain complete civil and criminal immunity from sanctions provided certain conditions are met.

Commenting on the announcement, Michael Grenfell, Executive Director of Enforcement at the CMA, said: “Cartels can cause serious damage to their customers, whether businesses or individual people, weakening price competitiveness – a particular concern at a time of cost-of-living pressures. The CMA’s job is to stamp out illegal cartels, but because cartels are generally conducted in secret, we need to encourage people to come forward and provide us with the information we need to crack down on cartels and protect people and businesses from the harm they cause. For these reasons, we are today increasing the maximum financial reward for informants and whistle-blowers who provide us with valuable information about cartels so that we can take action.”