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Tesco challenge £10m OFT fine

2nd May 2012

Supermarket giant Tesco have taken the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to a Competition Appeal Tribunal (CAT) to contest a £10 million fine.

The three-week tribunal, which will see partners and barristers with some of the top London legal jobs facing each other, relates to allegations of price fixing on certain dairy products in 2002 and 2003.

After a thorough investigation by the OFT, Tesco were judged last year to have actively colluded with eight companies in arbitrarily setting the prices of milk and cheddar cheese – something which the corporation still vigorously denies.

Although it is as yet unclear what verdict will be reached in the hearing, Tesco’s solicitors did recently secure one concession which may work in their favour; the OFT will now not be able to draw on transcripts of interviews between the retailers and their legal representatives as evidence.

The OFT’s collusion investigation was the longest in the organisation’s history, and officials from the regulators will be hoping that their efforts were not undertaken in vain.