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Bruton publishes new legislation aimed at tackling white-collar crime

Those convicted of hard-core competition offences could see fines of up to €5 million, while the maximum prison sentence will be doubled to 10 years.

Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton published the Bill today.
Enterprise Minister Richard Bruton published the Bill today.
Image: Photocall Ireland

AS PART OF a wider effort to combat white-collar crime in Ireland, a new bill has been published to allow for stricter enforcement of competition laws

Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton published the Competition (Amendment) Bill 2011 today, which will see the maximum prison sentence for competition offences increase from five to 10 years.

Under the proposed new laws, fines charged as punishment for competition offences will increase, while any organisation convicted may also have to pay costs of investigation and court proceedings for the first time ever.

Criminal conviction of “hard-core” offences, such as cartels and price-fixing, could be punishable by fines as large as €5 million, an increase from €4 million.

The proposed measures mean it will be possible to disqualify a person convicted of non-indictable competition offences from being a company director.

The Department said it will be easier for private individuals affected by anti-competitive practices to prove an action for damages against a cartelist, once public enforcement proceedings have successfully been taken.

This legislation will provide a more effective deterrent and punishment for individuals or organisations who engage in price-fixing, cartels, abuse of a dominant position and other anti-competitive practices,” said Bruton. “I have also today signed into law measures to make it easier to investigate and prosecute what are often highly complex cases in this area.”

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