US: Price-fixing penalties could spike soon

A government body has been assigned to evaluate the recommendations of financial penalties for price-fixing violations, according to reports, in a move that could lead to higher fines for anticompetitive corporate behavior.

The US Sentencing Commission first identified price-fixing as a potential area of study last month. Now, say reports, the group, made up mostly of judges, could raise the recommended range of financial penalties and prison sentences for price-fixing.

Antitrust experts have previously suggested that current ranges of those penalties are far too low to act as an effective deterrent to price manipulation. A study conducted in 2012, for example, found that price-fixing sanctions would need to be about five times higher to counter the negative financial effects on consumers.

American Antitrust Institute President Bert Foer said that “there’s reason to think that the level of fines imposed on miscreants is not as high as it ought to be, given the harm that is done.” The AAI had requested the Sentencing Commission to review price-fixing fines last year, according to reports.

Full content: Bangor Daily News

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