Archived — Company pleads guilty to bid-rigging in Quebec City

OTTAWA, January 26, 2010 — The Competition Bureau announced today that Tassimco Technologies Canada Inc., of Terrebonne, Quebec, has pleaded guilty before the Superior Court of Quebec to a charge of rigging bids for a contract to provide traffic signals to the City of Quebec.

The company was fined $50,000 for its role in the offence and is subject to a court order for a period of 10 years. The order requires Tassimco to implement a corporate compliance program and educate its employees about bid–rigging and conspiracy offences under the Competition Act.

"We are pleased with this guilty plea," said Melanie Aitken, Commissioner of Competition." Bid–rigging by firms seeking to cheat governments is criminal, and results in Canadian taxpayers paying artificially inflated prices."

Tassimco admitted to participating in bid-rigging in relation to the sale and supply of Light Emitting Diode (LED) modules for traffic signals to the City of Quebec. The City's call for tenders was issued under an energy efficiency plan intended to replace incandescent traffic lights on public streets with LED signals. The initial tender was worth $2 million. Following searches carried out by the Bureau, Quebec City cancelled the tender and issued a new tender that saved the City $91,000, or 5 per cent, on the total value of the contract.

Bid–rigging involves an agreement not to submit a bid or tender, or an arrangement among bidders to submit or withdraw particular bids, without making the agreement known to the person requesting the bids or tenders. Under the Competition Act, firms and individuals convicted of bid–rigging face fines in the discretion of the court or imprisonment for up to 14 years, or a combination of both.

For more information on bid–rigging, including tips on how to detect bid–rigging, please visit the Bureau's Web site.

This plea follows the laying of charges in this matter on October 30, 2006 against Electromega and its president, Alain Lamoureux, and against Tassimco and its vice-president, Conrad DiPietro.

The Bureau's investigation benefited from cooperation under the Bureau's Immunity Program, which creates incentives for parties to address their criminal liability by cooperating with the Bureau in its ongoing investigation and prosecution of other alleged cartel participants.

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


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