Australia: Partners in grime – Waste services companies plead guilty to criminal cartel offences

On 27 February 2023, Sydney waste company Aussie Skips Recycling and Aussie Skips Bin Services (“Aussie Skips”) pleaded guilty to criminal cartel offences alongside the companies’ chief executive, Emmanuel Roussakis. The sentencing hearing for the parties will take place in May 2023.

The charges relate to allegations that in mid-2019, Aussie Skips agreed to increase and fix prices in the supply of bins and processing services for building and demolition waste in Sydney in conjunction with waste management company, Bingo Industries (“Bingo”). 

Last year, Bingo and its former CEO, Daniel Tartak, were charged with criminal cartel offences by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (“CDPP”) in respect of the same alleged cartel. Mr Tartak was also charged with aiding and abetting offences. Both Mr Tartak and Bingo pleaded guilty to the charges and await their sentencing hearings in the Federal Court on 9 and 10 March 2023. 

Aussie Skips and Mr Roussakis were charged following an investigation by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (“ACCC”), which then referred the matter to the CDPP. Aussie Skips was charged with two criminal cartel offences relating to price fixing for demolition waste services. Mr Roussakis was also charged for his alleged involvement in the conduct. The parties now await their sentencing in the Federal Court on 22 to 23 May 2023. This follows the first ever prison sentences for cartel conduct being imposed by the Federal Court in 2022 in the “Vina Money” case.

A business or individual that may have contravened breaches Australia’s cartel laws may subsequently apply for immunity under the ACCC’s immunity and cooperation policy for cartel conduct. Aussie Skips and Bingo – have been charged. As we have previously flagged, the ACCC is constantly looking to strengthen its cartel-detection measures, including through work to encourage reporting by whistleblowers via its anonymous online portal. 

Corporations and individuals that contravene Australia’s cartel laws can face significant monetary penalties and, in criminal cases, potential jail terms. 

For more information, please contact Thomas Jones, Matthew Bovaird, Patrick Cordwell or Dylan McGirr.

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