Following on from our article earlier this month regarding potential changes to Ireland's approach to sanctioning anti-competitive conduct, the Irish Court of Appeal yesterday substantially increased a fine imposed on an individual convicted of anti-competitive conduct in May 2017.
Mr Smith had originally been fined 7,500 following a guilty plea for bid-rigging in the supply of flooring to multinational companies including Google, Mastercard and Paypal. He had also received a suspended three month jail sentence and a five-year disqualification as a Director. His company, Aston Carpets, was fined 10,000. This followed a lengthy investigation by the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission ("CCPC") culminating in the arrest and detention for questioning of Mr Smith by the Irish Police, An Garda Síochána, in April 2014.
Following an appeal by the Director of Public Prosecutions ("DPP") earlier this year, Appeals Court Justice Alan Mahon decided on 20 June 2018 that the fine levied by the High Court on Mr. Smith had been unduly lenient and increased it to 45,000. He did not alter the fine on the company or the suspended jail sentence.
Whilst neither the DPP nor the CCPC publishes guidelines on the calculation of the appropriate fine for anti-competitive conduct, a significant factor that may have weighed in the Judge's mind in this case was the disparity between the original fine and the gains of the criminal behaviour (estimated by the CCPC to have been around31,000). The total value of the contracts affected by the unlawful conduct was...