Final price-fixing charges stayed in chocolate case

November 18, 2015 — OTTAWA, ON — Competition Bureau

The Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC) entered a stay of proceedings on November 17, 2015 against Nestlé Canada Inc. and Robert Leonidas.

This decision, taken independently by the PPSC, follows the Competition Bureau’s referral of an investigation into price‑fixing in the chocolate confectionary products industry in Canada.

Today’s decision marks the end of the chocolate price‑fixing matter.

The Bureau continues to investigate allegations of price‑fixing and bid‑rigging in Canada as a top priority.

Quick facts

  • This matter came to the attention of the Bureau in 2007, after Cadbury Adams Canada Inc. provided details of the alleged conspiracy under the Bureau’s Immunity Program.
  • In June 2013, criminal charges were laid by direct indictment against three companies and three individuals accused of criminal conspiracy under the Competition Act for their role in allegedly fixing the price of chocolate confectionery products in Canada between 2002 and 2008.
  • The three companies were Nestlé Canada Inc., Mars Canada Inc. and ITWAL Limited, a national network of independent wholesale distributors, while the three individuals were Robert Leonidas (former President of Nestlé Canada), Sandra Martinez (former President of Confectionery for Nestlé Canada) and David Glenn Stevens (President and CEO of ITWAL).
  • As part of this investigation, in June 2013, Hershey Canada Inc. pleaded guilty to a criminal charge of price‑fixing and was fined $4 million. Hershey Canada cooperated with the Bureau’s investigation and the Bureau recommended that it receive lenient treatment in return.
  • On September 8, 2015, the PPSC entered a stay of proceedings against Mars Canada, ITWAL, Ms. Martinez and Mr. Stevens.
  • The Bureau’s Immunity and Leniency Programs offer powerful incentives for organizations and individuals to come forward and cooperate with the Bureau’s investigations, and have proven to be among our best weapons to combat criminal cartels under the Competition Act.

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