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ACCC considers criminal penalties for cartels

ACCC considers criminal penalties for cartels

PHONE TAPPING and criminal sanctions are hot topics of discussion for legislators tackling illegal cartel conduct. Cartel activity continues to rear its ugly head, with Qantas the latest company…

PHONE TAPPING and criminal sanctions are hot topics of discussion for legislators tackling illegal cartel conduct. Cartel activity continues to rear its ugly head, with Qantas the latest company to find itself under scrutiny from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, with allegations that the airline was involved in an illegal global air freight cartel.

The Treasury has made public a number of submissions made in response to the first draft of the Trade Practices Amendment (Cartel Conduct and Other Measures) Bill 2008. A Federal Government discussion paper sought input from stakeholders on two specific issues: how to distinguish the criminal prohibitions from the civil prohibitions, and whether telephone interception warrants should be available in relation to the new criminal cartel offences.

Submissions not containing confidential information have been made available online, and include material from Chartered Secretaries Australia, the Consumer Action Law Centre, the Fair Trading Coalition and university academics.

Among the concerns expressed in the submissions were: the draft legislation’s proposed definition of “dishonesty” for criminal conduct; the use of telephone intercepts; the duration of imprisonment for offenders; and whistleblower immunity.

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ACCC considers criminal penalties for cartels
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