Waste Management Giants and Former CEOs Sentenced for Price Fixing in Sydney’s Demolition Sector

Criminal sentences imposed on Bingo, Aussie Skips and their former CEOs Daniel Tartak and Emmanuel Roussakis for skip bin and waste processing cartel

The Federal Court has recently convicted and sentenced waste management companies Bingo Industries, and Aussie Skips Bin Services and Aussie Skips Recycling (together, Aussie Skips) for criminal cartel offences under sections 45AF and 45AG of the Competition and Consumer Act relating to a price fixing arrangement for demolition waste services in Sydney.

Bingo’s former Managing Director and CEO, Daniel Tartak, and Aussie Skips’ former CEO Emmanuel Roussakis were also convicted and sentenced.

These prosecutions were brought by the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP), following an investigation and referral by the ACCC.

Bingo was fined $30 million and Aussie Skips was fined $3.5 million after each company pleaded guilty to having fixed and increased prices with the other for the supply of skip bins and the provision of waste processing services for building and demolition waste in Sydney.

Bingo’s fine of $30 million is the second largest fine imposed for criminal cartel offences under the Competition and Consumer Act.

Mr Tartak was sentenced for two criminal cartel offences to  two terms of imprisonment of 18 months each, to be served concurrently over two years as an intensive correction order, including 400 hours of community service. Mr Tartak was also fined $100,000 and banned from managing corporations for a period of five years.

Mr Roussakis was sentenced to 18 months’ imprisonment for one criminal cartel offence, to be served as an intensive correction order, including 300 hours of community service. Mr Roussakis was also fined $75,000 and banned from managing corporations for a period of five years.

In imposing these sentences, the Court took into account the early guilty pleas of each of the offenders.

This brings to a close an extensive investigation by the ACCC into cartel conduct in the building and demolition waste services industry in Sydney.

“The sentences handed down today should serve as a strong reminder that criminal cartel conduct is a serious offence attracting serious consequences, including criminal convictions, significant fines, banning orders, and potential imprisonment for individuals,” ACCC Chair Gina Cass-Gottlieb said.

“Cartel conduct is illegal because it increases the prices consumers and businesses have to pay, and restricts healthy competition and economic growth.”

“We will continue to investigate cartel conduct and refer appropriate matters to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions for consideration of criminal prosecution,” Ms Cass-Gottlieb said.

“We encourage anyone who observes anti-competitive conduct in their industry or workplace to contact the ACCC confidentially. We will review their concerns and take action if warranted.”

“We have special arrangements for anyone who wants to anonymously report cartel conduct, via a secure third party platform that protects their identity and by anonymously calling our dedicated hotline,” Ms Cass-Gottlieb said.

In delivering judgment, Justice Wigney said “Cartels are widely condemned as the most egregious forms of anti-competitive behaviour. At its heart a cartel is an agreement between competitors not to compete. Cartel conduct harms consumers, businesses, and the economy, and is likely to increase prices, reduce choice and distort innovation processes.”

Justice Wigney also observed that the price-fixing arrangements between Bingo and Aussie Skips “had the effect of suppressing and distorting price competition in respect of collections services and processing services in the Sydney metropolitan region or a significant part thereof. The markets for collections services and processing services in that region were large and lucrative. The effect of the cartel conduct was that some consumers of collections services and processing services in that region were likely to have paid more for those services than they otherwise would have.”

The cartel operated between May 2019 and August 2019, with Bingo and Aussie Skips agreeing to fix prices for their waste collection services and waste processing services in Sydney from 1 July 2019.

The ACCC’s investigation began in June 2019 after it received complaints concerning price increases which came into effect from 1 July 2019 after the introduction of a government levy.

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