A waste management company has granted it operated an illegal bin cartel in collaboration with two other companies to increase and fix prices.
Bingo Industries on Tuesday pleaded guilty and was charged with criminal cartel offenses relating to price fixing for demolition waste services in Sydney following an ACCC investigation and referral to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP).
The company allegedly agreed with 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 in mid-2019.
The former managing director and CEO of Bingo, Daniel Tartak, has also been charged with two criminal cartel offenses relating to alleged breaches of the cartel provisions the Competition and Consumer Act. The will matters be heard by the Federal Court.
The maximum fine for each criminal cartel offense carried out by corporations, is the greater of $10 million, three times the total benefit that has been and which is reasonably attributable to the commission of the offence, or if the value of the benefit obtained cannot be determined, 10 percent of the corporation’s annual turnover connected with Australia.
An individual convicted of a criminal cartel offense could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison or fined up to $444,000 or both.
“When companies arrange to fix prices, they usually do only 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 behavior, 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.”
In response to the ACCC report, Bingo Industries claimed the matter did not reflect its “values or standards of conduct”.
“Bingo has co-operated with the ACCC and the CDPP throughout its investigation and regrets that the matter occurred. It does not reflect Bingo’s values or standards of conduct,” the company said in a statement.
“The matter primarily relates to certain pricing over a period of about two months over July and August 2019 in Bingo’s Sydney skip bin and processing businesses, the latter predominantly at three facilities.
“Since the matter occurred there have been significant changes in Bingo’s ownership, Board and executive team, including improvements to Bingo’s governance processes.
“The final determination (including in relation to penalties) will be subject to the decision of the Federal Court.”
The matter will be listed for case management hearing in the Federal Court at a later date.
Aussie Skips Bin Services and Aussie Skips Recycling have been contacted by news.com.au for comment.
Originally published as Sydney bin cartel exposed by ACCC investigation