On Thursday, June 06, 2013, the Competition Bureau laid
criminal charges against three corporations and three individuals
for their roles in allegedly fixing the price of chocolate
confectionery products in Canada.
The alleged price-fixing occurred before the 2010 amendments to
the Competition Act, and
the accused have been charged under the criminal cartel provision
in the old section 45. Under that provision, the Bureau must prove
not only that there was an agreement between competitors to fix
prices but also that the agreement had or was likely to unduly
lessen competition in a market. If convicted, the accused face
fines of up to $10 million and/or a prison term of up to five
The three corporations charged are Nestlé Canada Inc.;
Mars Canada Inc.; and ITWAL Limited, an independent wholesale
distribution network. The three individuals charged are Robert
Leonidas, former President of Nestlé; Sandra Martinez,
former President of Confectionery for Nestlé; and David
Glenn Stevens, current President and CEO of ITWAL. Reports indicate
the accused intend to defend the charges.
The Bureau learned of the alleged price-fixing through its Immunity Program. Under the
Program, the Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC) may grant
immunity or leniency to the first party who discloses an undetected
conspiracy or to provide evidence leading to a referral of evidence
to the PPSC. Hershey Canada Inc. cooperated with the Bureau
throughout its investigation and the Bureau has recommended to the
PPSC that Hershey receive lenient treatment. Hershey is expected to
plead guilty on June 21, 2013 for its role in the chocolate
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