The UK Office of Fair Trading's (OFT) long-running case concerning the pricing of passenger fuel surcharges ended on 19 April 2012 with a fine of GBP58.5 million on British Airways. Whistle-blower Virgin Atlantic Airways received full immunity and thus no fine. The OFT found that on at least six occasions the two companies had discussed and/or informed each other about proposed changes to the level of the surcharges, rather than setting levels independently. The OFT commented that the decision "sends out a strong message that coordinating pricing through the exchange of confidential information between competitors is unlawful," thereby reinforcing the dangers of information exchange between competitors (even unilateral and even one-off) under UK and EU competition law. The OFT also took the opportunity to reinforce its compliance message by stating, "The size of the fine underlines that it is important for companies to take steps to ensure that they have an effective compliance culture." The OFT is prepared to allow 10 percent fine reductions for companies that can show that they had in place an adequate competition law compliance programme
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UK Office of Fair Trading imposes large information exchange fine and provides compliance reminder
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