Sunday 20 August 2017

Company director fined over price-fixing scam that targeted top firms

Brendan Smith (39), of Greenane, Dunshaughin, Co Meath. Photo: Collins
Brendan Smith (39), of Greenane, Dunshaughin, Co Meath. Photo: Collins

Eoin Reynolds

A former company director who pleaded guilty to operating a price-fixing scam that targeted large firms including Google and PayPal was fined €7,500 at the Central Criminal Court.

Justice Patrick McCarthy also handed Brendan Smith (39), of Greenane, Dunshaughlin, Co Meath, a three-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, for attempting to impede a prosecution. Smith entered a bond to be of good behaviour.

The company Smith worked for at the time of the offence, Aston Carpets, was fined €10,000.

Smith pleaded guilty in April to engaging in and implementing an anti-competitive agreement between July 2012 and April 30, 2013, contrary to the Companies Act 2002.

The charge further stated this agreement involved Aston Carpets and Flooring and another firm, Carpet Centre (Contracts) Ltd, attempting to fix prices for their products by knowingly tendering bids that were above the amount tendered by the other firm.

Daniel Kenna of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission had previously told the court the average price of the contracts involved in price fixing over the period was €137,000. The biggest contract was for €312,000 with PayPal and was won by Aston Carpets.

The scam came to an end on April 30 when gardaí raided the offices of the two companies.

Irish Independent

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