Archived — Three more guilty pleas in Quebec gasoline cartel case

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GATINEAU, May 21, 2009 — The Competition Bureau announced today that two more individuals and another company have pleaded guilty to criminal charges for conspiring to fix the price of gasoline at the pump in Victoriaville, Quebec.

Today's pleas involve Jean-Yves Plourde, a former independent dealer under the Olco banner, who was sentenced to pay a fine of $10,000 and perform 150 hours of community service for his involvement in the conspiracy; Daniel Drouin, a former representative of Les Pétroles Cadrin Inc., whose sentencing was postponed to a later date; and Les Pétroles Cadrin Inc., selling petroleum products under the Sonerco and Axco banners, which was fined $90,000.

"Price-fixing is a fraud against consumers and a crime punishable by jail time and fines," said Melanie L. Aitken, Interim Commissioner of Competition. "The Competition Bureau will not hesitate to seek serious penalties against offenders when it uncovers evidence that they have broken the law."

These guilty pleas follow the laying of charges in June 2008 against 13 individuals and 11 companies accused of fixing the price of gas at pumps in Victoriaville, Thetford Mines, Magog and Sherbrooke. As of today, eight individuals and five companies have pleaded guilty in this case, with fines totalling over $2.7 million. Of the eight individuals who have pleaded guilty, four have been sentenced to terms of imprisonment totalling 44 months.

More information on past convictions and fines related to this cartel can be found on the Bureau's website.

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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