OFT urges buyers to help stamp out cartels

15 November 2007
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15 November 2007

The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) wants buyers to report suspicious activity by their suppliers to help the watchdog's crackdown on cartels.

John Fingleton, OFT chief executive, recently told the Financial Times he wanted to use the OFT's powers to tackle more anti-competitive practices and was "hunting" for good cases. He said the lack of investigations into such matters was a "gap" in the OFT's work.

Stephen Blake, deputy director of the cartels group at the OFT, told SM buyers were in an ideal position to help detect cartels: "They act for customers who are most likely to be the victims of any cartel and may be the first people to become aware of something suspicious going on in the market."

He said buyers should pay particular attention to bid rigging. He urged them to look for suspicious patterns in the order in which suppliers win contracts and query why successful suppliers would choose not to enter a bidding process they are likely to win.

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