Waste company Bingo Industries has today entered pleas of guilty to criminal cartel offences relating to price fixing for demolition waste services in Sydney. Bingo was charged with these offences today after an investigation by the ACCC and referral to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP).
It is alleged that in mid-2019, Bingo agreed with its competitors Aussie Skips Bin Services and Aussie Skips Recycling to fix and increase prices for the supply of skip bins and the provision of waste processing services for building and demolition waste in Sydney.
Bingo’s former managing director and CEO, Daniel Tartak has also been charged with two criminal cartel offences.
The charges relate to alleged breaches of the cartel provisions of the Competition and Consumer Act and will be heard by the Federal Court.
“When companies arrange to fix prices, they usually do so to increase their profits, and it is consumers that pay the increased cost,” ACCC Chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb said.
“We are committed to detecting and investigating serious cartel allegations and taking appropriate action against those who are a party to illegal cartel behaviour, including referral of matters to the CDPP. Cartel conduct not only frequently impacts consumers, but it can also significantly harm competing businesses and the economy more broadly. Trying to detect cartels early and working with whistleblowers is an essential component of our work.”
The matter will be listed for case management hearing in the Federal Court at a later stage.
As this is a criminal matter currently before the Court, the ACCC will not provide any further comment at this time.
Bingo is a waste management company that provides landfill, waste processing and skip bins services throughout New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.
Aussie Skips Bin Services and Aussie Skips Recycling are Sydney-based waste management businesses that supply skip bins and waste processing services for building and demolition waste respectively.
The ACCC investigates cartel conduct, manages the immunity process and, in respect of civil cartel contraventions, takes proceedings in the Federal Court. The ACCC works to detect cartels including through education programs, proactive intelligence gathering and data assessment and working with overseas counterparts to identify cartels that operate on a global level. The ACCC also manages an immunity program that enables past or present cartel members to confess their actions and cooperate with investigations in exchange for immunity from ACCC-initiated civil and (through the CDPP) criminal proceedings. Anyone with information about cartel conduct is urged to call the ACCC Cartel Hotline on (02) 9230 3894.
The CDPP is responsible for prosecuting criminal cartel offences in accordance with the Prosecution Policy of the Commonwealth. The ACCC refers serious cartel conduct to the CDPP for consideration of prosecution in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding between the CDPP and the ACCC regarding Serious Cartel Conduct.
For corporations, the maximum fine for each criminal cartel offence is the greater of:
- $10 million
- three times the total benefit that has been obtained and which is reasonably attributable to the commission of the offence, or
- if the value of the benefit obtained cannot be determined, 10 per cent of the corporation’s annual turnover connected with Australia.
An individual convicted of a criminal cartel offence may be sentenced to up to 10 years’ imprisonment or fined up to $444,000, or both.