Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Questions (578)

Billy Kelleher

Question:

578. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation the number of investigative cases commenced for suspected anti-competitive conduct which falls within the definition of a cartel; the number of inspections carried out; the number of prosecutions and cartel decisions made; the number of cases which concluded with fines issued; the value of fines issued; the number of collected and uncollected fines; the average fine per cartel; and the average length of cartel investigations to date in each year since the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission was established in tabular form. [19279/19]

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Written answers (Question to Business)

The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) is the statutory body responsible for the enforcement of domestic and EU competition law in the State. Section 9 (5) of the Competition and Consumer Protection Act 2014 provides that the Commission is independent in the performance of its functions. As investigations and enforcement matters generally are part of the day-to-day operational work of the Commission, I, as Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, have no direct function in the matter.

The information sought by the Deputy in relation to criminal investigative actions has been provided by the CCPC and is set out in the table below for the period 31 October 2014 to 30 April 2019.

Information sought

-

Number of investigative cases commenced (cartel)

Four investigations launched 56 files screened

The number of searches carried out

Twenty five

The number of prosecutions and cartel decisions made

Two (company and individual) – Ireland’s first conviction for bid-rigging

The number of cases which concluded with fines issued

One resulting in two prosecutions & two convictions

The amount in Euro of fines issued;

€55,000*

The number of collected and uncollected fines

As above

The average fine per cartel;

NA

The average length of cartel investigations to date in each year

18 – 36 months

*The leniency of the original sentence and fines (€17,500) imposed in 2017 were appealed by the DPP and in June 2018 the Court of Appeal increased the fines imposed on the individual convicted.

When the CCPC receives a complaint in relation to potential anti-competitive behaviour it is examined through a screening process before a decision can be made as to whether there is sufficient evidence to open an investigation. The CCPC’s role is to investigate alleged cartels and when sufficient evidence of a cartel is obtained, the CCPC submits a file to the Director of Public Prosecutions with the recommendation that the parties be prosecuted on indictment.