ERJ staff report (SS) London -- The UK's Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has charged three UK businessmen with cartel offences under the Enterprise Act, for their role in the marine hose cartel.
According to a 19 Dec statement from the OFT, this is the first time that charges have been brought under the Act, which came into force in 2003.
Peter Whittle (Oil & Marine); Bryan Allison (Dunlop Oil & Marine Ltd.); and David Brammar, (Dunlop), have all been charged with dishonestly for participating in the cartel to allocate market share, customers, restrict supplies, fix prices and rig bids for the supply of marine hose and ancillary equipment in the UK, between 20 June 2003 and 2 May 2007.
After an 11-month investigation, the US authorities arrested the businessmen in May this year for suspected breaches of US antitrust law.
As mentioned in ERJ last week, the businessmen, who have received jail sentences and fined thousands of dollars by the US Department of Justice, have been allowed to return to the UK in order to face up to charges from the OFT and serve their jail term. The where arrested by the Metropolitan Police on their arrival at Heathrow airport yesterday morning (18 Dec) and were interviewed by OFT officials before being charged. They will appear before a magistrates court in the New Year.
Marine hose is used by the oil and defence industries for transporting oil between tankers and storage facilities.
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Press release from the OFT