is early days yet in the Australia Cardboard Cartel Case (ACCC?). We
must remember that all involved are presumed innocent and I am not
suggesting otherwise. It seems that the ACCC (like its sister Federal
agency ASIC) is proceeding by way of civil penalties only. If the
allegations are true, they may also constitute a criminal conspiracy to
defraud. We need more facts.
There seems to be some
interesting evidence available – such as tapes of conversations and the
indemnifying of Amcor on the basis that they assist the case. I wonder
if the Commonwealth DPP has also indemnified Amcor and its staff? If
not, they could still be liable for criminal offences as the ACCC
cannot indemnify for crimes.
It is a very big step to indemnify
Amcor. The ACCC must have been satisfied (I hope) that without Amcor
they had no case at all. Otherwise they both should be charged.
– as in the Vizard case – the Australian Crime Commission should have
been called in to compulsorily examine all the witnesses, in which
event it is possible that Amcor could have been charged. But I am sure
this was not done.
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Generally speaking (that is, not this case)
corporate regulators need to wake up to themselves. Big business will
always take legal risks if the only downside is a financial penalty. It
turns breaking the law into just another commercial risk assessment.
only corporate crooks who go to jail are those who have gone bust, like
Alan Bond. Wealthy lawbreakers outgun the regulators, so the issue of
criminal conduct is never enforced.