Lead cartel directors banded from directorships after £9m fine

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The CMA (Competition and Markets Authority) has secured the disqualification of three company directors involved in the supply of rolled lead, after a construction supply cartel was broken up last year.

The investigation into two of the UK’s largest suppliers of rolled lead, Associated Lead Mills Ltd (ALM) and H.J. Enthoven Ltd (trading as BLM British Lead) were colluding to raise the price of lead they were supplying breaking competition rules.

Nationaltradesmen.co.uk reported the companies admitted last year to using a cartel to raise prices for rolled lead across the UK.

The Competition and Markets Authority has now secured the disqualification of Graham Hudson and Maurice Sherling (ALM) and Jocelyn Campbell (BLM) the three were directors at the time the illegal activity took place.

Jocelyn Campbell also looked to conceal his communications with competitor businesses by using a separate mobile phone from his main businesses phone, in the period from December 2016 until the launch of the investigation in July 2017.

Maurice Sherling admitted to suspecting that Associated Lead Mills Ltd (ALM) was breaching competition law and receiving competitively-sensitive information from a competitor (Campbell of BLM) and knew that this would breach competition rules.

Hudson was disqualified for four years and Sherling for three years, Campbell through to be in control will be disqualified for 6.5 years.

Michael Grenfell, Executive Director of Enforcement at the CMA, commented saying that:It’s an important responsibility of company directors to ensure that their companies don’t engage in illegal anti-competitive practices, which can lead to higher prices for customers.

“The CMA has clear evidence that these directors either knowingly entered into illegal arrangements and communications, or were aware of them and did nothing to stop them.

“That’s why these measures are needed. This should be a message to all directors – if your company breaches competition law, you risk personal disqualification.”