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Commercial Solicitor Offers Advice in Case the OFT Come Knocking!

Sep 11, 2008
Recently three oil executives were convicted and jailed in the UK for price fixing. This was the first ever prosecution for an oil cartel. Each man pleaded guilty to a single offence of creating a cartel. The three individuals used code-names, secret meetings, and Swiss bank accounts in order to orchestrate the price fixing scheme. This cartel also employed a full time employee to allocate contracts and fix prices. The jail sentences for the three oil executives involved were between three and five years and included a stipulation that the individuals could no longer serve as directors of the corporation. This cartel is still being examined by the EU and US authorities.

This case was investigated by the US and the UK in a joint agreement. The executives were arrested in the US and allowed to return to the UK only after they agreed to a plea-bargain where they would plead guilty in the UK and serve time in prison. In the US the common jail sentence for a similar crime is ten years and while the sentences handed down in the UK were less, this case may not be over yet. In the process of the investigation search warrants were executed on the offices of the company and one director's home.

The point here is how would your business handle and respond to a raid or search warrant? It is important that your business have a policy that details how your staff will react if the OFT raided your premises. Even if you believe your company has nothing to hide, your employees need to be trained and a process for data protection and retrieval needs to be created. Do not wait any longer, seek the assistance of a lawyer to determine the steps you need to take to train your staff and protect your company's information.

Most executives never have an intention of running foul of the law. You may never have a secret code-name or a Swiss bank account but you may find that a decision made years ago is causing you legal problems now. Protect your business by meeting with experienced lawyers on a regular basis to determine any changes in the laws that affect your company. It is also a good idea to have lawyers review your contracts and practices to confirm you are not breaking any laws - new or old. Professional legal advice can also assist you if you find yourself the victim of anti-competitive or abuse of market power practices. Do not take any chances with your business or your life; seek the assistance and guidance of a legal team.

If you find yourself on the wrong side of a criminal law it is important to get immediate high quality legal advice. The matter may be simple as speeding or as complex as price fixing, it does not matter because a good lawyer will help whenever the need arises. Having a lawyer for your business does not make you a criminal, it makes you a smart business person ready for anything that may arise.

This article is free to republish provided the authors resource box below remains intact.
About the Author
Ian Robinson is the managing partner of Hampshire Employment Solicitor Churchers - who are also leading commercial property solicitors in Hampshire .
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