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Nestle, Mars accused of price-fixing

07 June 2013, 17:53

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Ottawa - Authorities on Thursday charged Nestle, Mars and a network of independent wholesale distributors in an alleged criminal conspiracy to fix prices of chocolates in Canada.

An investigation prompted by a whistleblower's tip uncovered "evidence suggesting that the accused conspired, agreed or arranged to fix prices of chocolate products," the Competition Bureau said in a statement.

Competition Commissioner John Pecman called their alleged actions "egregious anti-competitive behavior that harms Canadian consumers" and "a serious criminal offense."

Three individuals were also charged: Robert Leonidas, former president of Nestle Canada; Sandra Martinez, former president of Confectionery for Nestle Canada; and David Glenn Stevens, head of Canadian food distributor ITWAL.

If convicted, they face a fine of up to Can$10m (US$9.75m) and, or imprisonment for a term of up to five years.

Officials said Hershey Canada, an alleged co-conspirator, cooperated with its investigation and agreed to plead guilty at a hearing on June 21 in exchange for leniency.


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