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ACM visits thousands of LinkedIn-profiles of employees in ports and transport sector

ACM investigators have visited over 6,500 LinkedIn-profiles of individuals that work in the Port of Rotterdam or in the ports and transport sector. On these LinkedIn-profiles, the investigators left a trace leading to an ACM website with more information about cartels. These visits to LinkedIn-profiles are part of an awareness campaign called ‘Cartels never go unnoticed.’ The ports and transport sector has been designated as one of the topics of the 2016-2017 ACM Agenda. By visiting thousands of profiles, ACM seeks to raise awareness about antitrust rules among businesses that are active in the Dutch ports.

What are cartels?

Cartels are illegal agreements between businesses in order to eliminate the competition. For example, they could agree on raising prices or on sharing the market. In most cases, prices of products and services go up by at least 15 percent as a result of cartels.

ACM tracks down cartels, ends illegal agreements, and can impose hefty fines on the businesses and individuals involved. These fines can amount to tens of millions of euros per business involved, and, from July 1, the fines on individuals can be as high as EUR 900,000.

Awareness campaign ‘Cartels never go unnoticed’

Since June 7, ACM has been running a campaign to raise awareness about cartels, and to stimulate tipping off ACM about potential cartels. On the LinkedIn-profiles of the ACM investigators, visitors can find a link to the campaign website. The campaign is called ‘Cartels never go unnoticed.’ Cartel agreements are concluded by real, actual people. So there are always people who know about these illegal agreements. They have the opportunity to report those to ACM in confidence.

The campaign kicked off with a video that puts a humorous spin on ACM’s investigation methods. A lot of information about cartels can be found on ACM’s website. In addition, ACM created a so-called ‘cartel check,’ with which people are able to learn more about cartels, for example, if they are unsure whether they are dealing with a potential cartel. ACM is convinced that increased awareness about cartels will lead to more high-value information on illegal agreements.

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