Archived — Third individual pleads guilty in Quebec gasoline cartel case

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OTTAWA, October 31, 2008 — The Competition Bureau announced today that Pierre Bourassa, a sales representative formerly employed by Les Pétroles Global Inc. (operating under the Olco banner), has pleaded guilty to criminal charges for fixing the price of gasoline at the pump in Magog and Sherbrooke.

Bourassa has been sentenced to 12 months of imprisonment for his involvement in the conspiracy. The Quebec Superior Court has agreed to let Bourassa serve his sentence in the community given that he has no prior criminal record and is not a danger to society.

This plea follows the laying of charges in June 2008 against 13 individuals and 11 companies accused of fixing the price of gasoline at the pump in Victoriaville, Thetford Mines, Magog and Sherbrooke.

Today's announcement sends a clear message that price-fixing is a criminal activity with serious consequences. Attacking these cartels continues to be a top Bureau priority,” said Sheridan Scott, Commissioner of Competition.

Bourassa is the third individual to plead guilty. In September 2008, Daniel Leblond, also a sales representative formerly employed by Les Pétroles Global Inc. (operating under the Olco banner), pleaded guilty to a conspiracy offence and was fined $10,000. In June, Jacques Ouellet, an employee of Ultramar Ltée, also pleaded guilty and was fined $50,000.

To date, three companies have pleaded guilty and have been fined just over $2 million. The companies are: Les Pétroles Therrien Inc, operating under the Petro-T banner, and Distributions Pétrolières Therrien Inc. ($179,000), and Ultramar Ltée ($1,850,000).

The Competition Bureau's investigation into potential price-fixing in the retail gasoline market continues in other markets in Canada.

The Competition Bureau is an independent agency that contributes to the prosperity of Canadians by protecting and promoting competitive markets and enabling informed consumer choice.

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