The CMA “Cracking down on Cartels” campaign will encourage witnesses of illegal activity to come forward and report as CMA offer up to £100,000 and promise anonymity.
The Competition and Market Authority is targeting illegal businesses which cheat their customers by agreeing not to compete with each other in order to keep their prices high. The practice stops ordinary people and other businesses from getting a fair deal as well as stifling competition.
Under CMA’s leniency scheme, firms have the opportunity to avoid penalties of up to 10% of their total turnover and prison sentences for up to 5 years for staff if they are the first to confess their cartel.
Acting Chief Executive, Andrea Coscelli said CMA is committed to tackling cartels as they are a form of stealing that cheat people and businesses by undermining competition. CMA is aiming to help people understand what cartel activity looks like and how to report it so that action can be taken, Andrea added.
CMA research found that whilst most businesses have a shared ethical sense, less than a quarter of businesses said they kew competition law well and that only 16% knew that informants could get a reward for reporting suspected cartel. It also found that 15% knew that the CMA operates a leniency programme for businesses and individuals that confess their involvement in a cartel and cooperate with the CMA.
As a result, this research encouraged the creation of the first advertising campaign run by the CMA specifically aiming to stamp out cartel activity and encourage the reporting of it to the CMA. Adverts will appear on social media feeds and key websites.
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