Watchdog pays £100,000 damages to supermarket chain
The Office of Fair Trading today apologised to Morrisons and agreed £100,000 damages after the retailer was wrongly identified in a price-fixing probe.
The watchdog announced the settlement after Morrisons took legal action over a press release issued in September by the OFT at the same time as a statement of objections against a number of large supermarkets and dairy processors.
The release incorrectly stated that Morrisons was the subject of a provisional finding of infringement in relation to the supply of butter and cheese in 2002 and 2003. It also said the supermarket had previously been warned by the OFT against anti-competitive behaviour, which was not the case.
In fact, the only allegation relating to Morrisons involved liquid milk products in 2002.
The watchdog said today: "The OFT regrets that the press release contained these serious errors, and wishes to apologise sincerely to Morrisons for their publication."
The OFT agreed to pay Morrisons £100,000 in settlement of the defamation action and to pay the supermarket's costs in relation to the judicial review and defamation actions launched by Morrisons.
Supermarkets Asda, Sainsbury's and Safeway, prior to its takeover by Morrisons, as well as a number of dairies, have already admitted price-fixing during 2002 and 2003.
The firms will pay combined fines of more than £120 million, with dairies Robert Wiseman, Dairy Crest and The Cheese Company also found provisionally guilty by the OFT last September.
But retailers Tesco and Morrisons are still fighting the OFT claims.
Morrisons said at the time of the findings last autumn that it did not believe it was involved in any price-fixing collusion.
It said in a statement that objections will be made that Morrisons "should not be a part of this inquiry and that Morrisons inherited from Safeway a matter not of its making or doing".
The OFT has already issued a clarification of its statement of objections, stressing that the provisional findings relating to Morrisons concerned milk products in 2002 only.
- 1 Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
Nigel Farage defends Kerry Smith 'ch***y' comment: 'If you are going for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?'
Nigel Farage's approval rating hits 'record low' as popularity suffers in wake of Ukip sex scandal
Pakistan school attack live: Taliban kill at least 132 children in 'horrifying' massacre
Sony hack: Angelina Jolie branded 'seriously out of her mind' in further embarrassing leaked email saga
Panic Saturday: 13 million Britons spend £1.2bn – while 13 million others across the country live in poverty unable to afford food
iJobs Money & Business
$200 - $350 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: Managing Producer Office...
$125 - $225 per annum: Carlton Senior Appointments: San Fran - Investment Advi...
Up to £70,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...
Up to £65,000 per annum + benefits: Sheridan Maine: Are you a qualified accoun...