Collusion Damage

An in-depth look at Australia’s struggle to secure its first criminal cartel convictions — and make jail time a deterrent at last, a decade after the law made it possible

August 2020

Australia’s creation in 2009 of criminal cartel offenses — and threat of up to 10 years in jail for offending executives — promised to change the game for the country's antitrust enforcer, struggling to investigate collusion and make civil penalties a credible deterrent. But a decade on, the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission has yet to bag its first individual convictions, an essential for the deterrent to work.

Across five separate cartel prosecutions currently in play, the ACCC and the public prosecutor’s office are now battling in the courts to secure convictions — and MLex’s reporters in Australia have been present at every material court hearing in Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney since the first charges were laid early in 2018.

We’ve parsed and analyzed legal tactics; accusations of prosecutorial missteps have been weighed up against their possible impact on other cases unfolding. By chiseling away at the mosaic tile by tile, we hope we are bringing our subscribers the much bigger picture of spiking regulatory risk. This report lays out the story so far as the cases head for the crunch.

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