New whistle-blower tool used to target cartels in the EU
The European Commission has launched a new tool that allows people to report on secret business deals such as price fixing.
The new whistle-blower tool will allow people come forward anonymously to report illegal business practices using encrypted technology.
The system allows for a two-way communication to be conducted without passing on meta-data, which the Commission says will guarantee the anonymity of whistle-blowers.
It is hoped that the initiative will encourage people to report instances of corruption in procurement bids, keeping products off the market and unfairly excluding rivals.
“If people are concerned by business practices that they think are wrong, they can help put things right,” said EU Competition Commissioner, Margrethe Vestager.
“Information can contribute to the success of our investigations quickly and more efficiently to the benefit of consumers and the EU's economy as a whole," Ms Vestager added.
The Commission said the action was necessary because anti-competitive practices can lead to goods being overpriced across the EU.
Until now, most cartel practices had been detected through the Commission’s leniency programme, which allows businesses to report their own involvement in a cartel in exchange for a reduction on the fine imposed on them.