Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Four BA Bosses Charged over Price-Fixing Scandal

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Four BA Bosses Charged over Price-Fixing Scandal

Article excerpt

Byline: JONATHAN PRYNN

FOUR former and current British Airways executives were today charged with criminal price fixing.

In only the second and easily the highest profile case of its kind ever seen in Britain, the men were charged by the Office of Fair Trading with "having dishonestly agreed with others" to fix fuel surcharges for longhaul passengers.

The four head of sales Andrew Crawley, former commercial director Martin George, former head of communications Iain Burns and former head of sales for the UK and Ireland Alan Burnett could each face up to five years in prison and unlimited fines.

They are due to appear before the City of London magistrates' court on 24 September. The OFT charges concern conversations alleged to have taken place between the BA executives and their counterparts at arch rival Virgin Atlantic between July 2004 and April 2006.

It is the latest dramatic legal move by a far more aggressive OFT determined to use its powers to stamp out cartels in British business.

In June three former oil industry executives were given jail sentences of between 30 and 36 months for running a cartel that illegally set the price of marine hoses.

However the BA charges are the first brought over business dealings carried out after price fixing was criminalised by the 2002 Enterprise Act. The fact that the charges are being brought in Britain means the quartet are far less likely to being extradited to America, where the potential sentences could be far more severe. …

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