17 September 2010 | Natalia Da Silva
The UK offices of Mercedes-Benz have been searched by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) on suspicion of price cartel activity relating to commercial vehicles.
The OFT visited the Tongwell offices near Milton Keynes as part of a criminal investigation into alleged price-fixing of trucks. One man was arrested and released on bail.
Jack Semple, director of policy at the Road Haulage Association said: “The suggestion of a price cartel is clearly an issue of great concern and we and our members will follow developments with keen interest.”
Mercedes-Benz confirmed the OFT visited its offices as part of a large investigation on price fixing in the UK vehicle market which extends to other manufacturers.
Rob Holloway, PR manager at Mercedes-Benz said: “The OFT carried out an on-site investigation at its offices. Of course Mercedes-Benz is fully cooperating with the investigation which may take many months or more to complete.”
Companies found operating a price cartel can be fined 10 per cent of their worldwide turnover and an individual found guilty can face up to five years’ imprisonment.
The OFT confirmed the investigation was being carried out under both the Enterprise Act 2002 and the Competition Act 1998.
The OFT said: “The investigations are at an early stage. The OFT will not be in a position to conclude whether it considers the law has been infringed until it has completed its investigations and assessed the available evidence.”