Cartel immunity policy strengthened, whistleblowing tool launched

The ACCC has strengthened its cartel immunity and cooperation policy to enhance its transparency and clarify its scope.

The updated immunity policy, which has been informed by experience gathered during key criminal investigations, will come into effect on 1 October 2019.

It will continue to cover cartel conduct such as price-fixing, market sharing, bid rigging and customer allocation, and will clarify that the policy does not cover anti-competitive concerted practices.

ACCC immunity & cooperation policy: frequently asked questions - October 2019

This document supplements the ACCC immunity and cooperation policy for cartel conduct – October 2019. The frequently asked questions may be amended from time to time to address issues that may arise in the application of the policy.

ACCC immunity & cooperation policy for cartel conduct - October 2019

This policy sets out the ACCC’s approach to applications for immunity from proceedings initiated or authorised by the ACCC or the Office of the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) in relation to cartel conduct, and how cooperation provided to the ACCC by cartel participants will be recognised.

Appeal on cartel conduct in the Mount Penny coal licence cartel case dismissed

An ACCC appeal against a Federal Court judgment in relation to alleged bid rigging conduct involving Cascade Coal Pty Ltd (Cascade), Paul and Moses Obeid and others was dismissed today by the Full Federal Court.

The appeal focused on whether parties associated with Obeid family members and Cascade were “in competition” at the time they withdrew a bid for Mount Penny and Glendon Brook mining exploration licences. The Full Federal Court has concluded there was no error of law on that issue.

Action against BlueScope for alleged cartel conduct

The ACCC has instituted civil proceedings in the Federal Court against BlueScope Steel Limited (BlueScope) and its former general manager sales and marketing, Mr Jason Ellis, for alleged cartel conduct in relation to the supply of flat steel products.

The ACCC alleges that between September 2013 and June 2014, BlueScope and Mr Ellis attempted to induce various steel distributors in Australia and overseas manufacturers to enter agreements containing a price fixing provision. 

Global shipping company Wallenius Wilhelmsen charged with criminal cartel conduct

Following continuing investigations by the ACCC, Wallenius Wilhelmsen Ocean AS (WWO), a Norwegian-based global shipping company, has today been charged with criminal cartel conduct.

The charge relates to alleged cartel conduct concerning the international shipping of certain vehicles to Australia between June 2011 and July 2012.

The charge was laid by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecution (CDPP) in the NSW District Registry of the Federal Court. The matter has been set down by the Court for a first mention on 29 August 2019.

K-Line convicted of criminal cartel conduct and fined $34.5 million

Japanese shipping company Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha Ltd (K-Line) has been convicted of criminal cartel conduct and ordered by the Federal Court to pay a fine of $34.5 million.  

The Federal Court found K-Line engaged in a cartel with other shipping companies in order to fix prices on the transportation of cars, trucks, and buses to Australia between 2009 and 2012.

K-Line’s fine of $34.5 million is the largest ever criminal fine imposed under the Competition and Consumer Act.

Competition law expert Stephen Ridgeway appointed

ACCC Chair Rod Sims has welcomed Treasurer Josh Frydenberg's announcement today that Stephen Ridgeway will join the agency as a Commissioner.

Mr Ridgeway has been appointed for a term of five years. He brings to the ACCC extensive experience as a leading lawyer specialising in competition and consumer law, including in large-scale litigation, merger review and infrastructure access matters.