The new "Cracking Down on Cartels" campaign is
targeting businesses which agree to not compete with each other in
order to keep prices high, thereby cheating their customers. The
purpose of this is to ensure there is healthy competition between
businesses and that customers are treated fairly when it comes to
The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), which is running
this campaign, hope that the reward of up to £100,000 and the
promise of anonymity will encourage whistleblowers to step forward
and report any illegal activity that they have witnessed.
Research undertaken by the CMA
shows that less than a quarter of businesses feel that they
know competition law well. Given that businesses who are found to
be guilty of being part of such cartels can be fined up to 10 per
cent of their annual turnover and the individuals involved can face
up to five years' imprisonment as well as a 10-year
disqualification from director roles, it is important that
businesses get to grips with competition law to avoid such
Whether the rewards offered will in fact encourage
whistleblowers to come forward remains to be seen. However given
that s18 of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 removed
the good faith requirement from the definition of a qualifying
disclosure, it will be interesting to see whether this, coupled
with the reward, will lead to an increase in dubious whistleblowing
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