The Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”) recently published a blog with their guidance on cartel investigations entitled, How the CMA investigates cartels. This explains what the CMA frequently does as part of its evidence-gathering process, including, for example, undertaking covert surveillance, or executing dawn raids. This is a good read for solicitors and other practitioners undertaking work in this area, as well as businesses at risk of such regulatory interventions and criminal investigations.
The CMA has set out details of how cartel investigations commence, for example, from organic intelligence-gathering and tip-offs to self-reporting. They outline their powers, including with regard to dawn raids, interviews, and compelling organisations to produce information. The CMA then go on to outline the process of setting out a “Statement of Objections” – that is, the CMA’s initial findings from their cartel investigation. Subjects have an opportunity to reply to this. The matter may then proceed to a final, published CMA decision.
Where criminal sanctions are being entertained, the CMA will also carry out an assessment on whether there are sufficient grounds for individuals or businesses to be charged and prosecuted in the criminal courts.
The CMA also outline the exercising of their discretion in applying to the Court for the directors of companies guilty of cartel behaviour to be disqualified from acting as company directors (for up to 15 years).
All in all, worth a read!
Abbas Nawrozzadeh is the Head of Regulatory and White Collar Crime at Eldwick Law. If you and/or your business are being investigated by the CMA or require expert advice, then please do not hesitate to email firstname.lastname@example.org and/or telephone 0207 887 6525.
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