Search warrants and phone taps to target price fixers

Search warrants and telephone interception will be used to target those fixing prices, rigging bids or allocating customers

With 10 days until new laws against cartels come into place, search warrants and telephone interception are some of the ways the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will target those attempting to fix prices, rig bids or allocate customers.

The ACCC will work in conjunction with the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) in an attempt to cut back on cartels and create a more free and fair market.

According to ACCC Chairman Graeme Samuel, companies that provide information on any cartels in progress will become exempt from any prosecution.

"In those serious matters, it [the ACCC] will not trade away the possibility of criminal prosecution in return for the agreement to settle with civil remedies," Samuel says.

"For some people it [the start of the new laws] will be a time to reflect whether they maintain their involvement in a cartel and risk imprisonment or draw a line in the sand and stop it now.

"Most definitely for others, with the stakes raised high, it will be a time to expose their partners in crime under the ACCC’s immunity policy."

Under the new laws, chief executives or senior management who take part in any serious cartels face up to 10 years in jail, plus thousands of dollars in fines.

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