Tesco to fight milk price fixing fine

Posted: August 11, 2011 in Law & Disorder

IlieTesco has threatened legal action after being hit with a £10m fine from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) following an inquiry into the price fixing of dairy products.

Tesco was one of nine firms facing penalties totalling close to £50m for colluding over the price of milk and cheese in 2002 and 2003.

The OFT estimated that the collusion saw shoppers pay 2p extra for a litre of milk and 2p extra on 100g of cheese.

The regulator originally calculated that an extra £270m was spent by UK consumers as a result of the price fixing, but no total figure has been included in the final report.

The OFT found that Arla, Asda, Dairy Crest, McLelland, Safeway, Sainsbury’s, The Cheese Company, Wiseman, and Tesco infringed the Competition Act by co-ordinating rises in the prices consumers paid for certain dairy products in 2002 and, or 2003.

The first eight all received leniency after admitting liability.

However, Tesco has denied collusion and said it would defend its position vigorously, and “through the courts if necessary”. More price rises to cover the legal fees I suppose.

Fines were originally set at a total of £116m, but were reduced after consultation. For example Wiseman said it had originally reached a settlement of £6.1m with the OFT. This sum was reduced to £4.2m in March 2010, and is now down to £3.2m. Give it a couple of months and they might not have to pay anything.

The OFT said that supermarkets had indirectly exchanged pricing details with each other via the dairy processors.

The final penalties announced by the OFT were £9.39m for Asda, £7.14m for Dairy Crest, £1.66m for McLelland, £5.69m for Safeway, £11.04m for Sainsbury’s, £1.26m for The Cheese Company, £3.2m for Wiseman and £10.43m for Tesco.

Although Arla was found to been involved in the infringement regarding milk in 2003, it has not been fined as it grassed on the others and was given immunity.

Sham marriages a speciality

IlieDelroy Bryan, 46, of Reigate Road in Bromley was arrested by officers from the UK Border Agency in May 2010, after information was received suggesting he was involved in bigamous marriages to aid immigration applications.

Judging by his expression in the picture he has just woken up to the fact that he’s got three wives.

Bryan married Jamaican national Inez Downs at Islington Registry office in November 2000. She went on to claim British nationality.

However, he failed to inform the registrar that he was already married at the time.

Two years later he married wife number three, another Jamaican woman, Alphina Brown at Merton Register Office. She also went on to claim British citizenship.

It’s thought he was paid just a few hundred pounds for each wedding.

Bryan admitted two counts of bigamy and two counts of assisting illegal immigration during a hearing at Croydon Crown Court, and was sentenced to three years in prison.

Inez Downs, 53, of Woodward in Crawley was found guilty of obtaining leave to remain by deception on Thursday 4 August. She was jailed for a year.

She stood trial alongside her son, Mark Bernard, 34, of the same address, who had helped process her immigration applications. He was also found guilty of two counts of assisting illegal immigration, and was sentenced to a year in prison.

Alphina Brown, 38, of London Road in Mitcham, has admitted three counts of obtaining leave to remain in the UK by deception and will be sentenced on 19 August. No mention of deporting these women who are here illegally.


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