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Record £225M fine for supermarkets and tobacco giants over price fix scanal

cigarette-436103154Last updated: April 17, 2010

Source: The Mirror

Supermarkets and tobacco giants have been fined a record £225million for price fixing.

The Office of Fair Trading ruled Imperial Tobacco, Gallaher and 10 store chains unlawfully linked rival cigarette and tobacco product prices.

A seven-year probe found they struck secret deals between 2001-03 to raise or lower costs to shoppers.

Imperial, which makes Lambert & Butler, must pay £112.3million and Benson and Hedges owner Gallaher was given a £50.3million penalty.

Supermarket Morrisons has been fined £8.6million but is also liable for £11million imposed on Safeway following its takeover of the group.

The Co-op was fined £14million to which will be added Somerfield’s £4million, again after a takeover.

Asda’s fine is just over £14million while whistleblower Sainsbury’s was let off the hook for lifting the lid.

The OFT ruled there was “insufficient evidence” to probe Tesco but Shell was fined £3.3million and TM Retail, which owns Martins and McColls, faces a £2.6million hit.

First Quench and One Stop Stores were also fined. The Co-op and Morrisons plan to appeal.

So does Imperial, which said: “Discounts given to retailers were passed on to consumers in prices.”

Gallaher accepted the ruling.

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