ACCC guidelines on cartel prosecutions

The ACCC has published guidelines on how it will investigate alleged cartel arrangements under the anti-cartel laws that will commence on 24 July 2009.

The guidelines also set out how the ACCC will make decisions in relation to referral of matters for possible criminal prosecution.

The ACCC’s position is that serious cartel conduct should be prosecuted criminally whenever possible. For this reason, the ACCC will distinguish serious cartel conduct from that which is less serious in nature, including relatively minor conduct.

Serious cartel arrangements involve conduct of the type that usually causes, or has the potential to cause, large scale or serious economic harm.

The factors it will consider include:

  • the value of the affected commerce exceeded or would have exceeded $1 million within a 12-month period (i.e. where the combined value for all cartel participants of the specific line of commerce affected by the cartel would exceed $1 million within a 12-month period)
  • in the case of bid rigging, the value of the bid or series of bids exceeded $1 million within a 12 month period.
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