DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary has sent the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) a Freedom of Information Act request in the Pernod Ricard case, in what is one of the first example of the act’s use by a lawyer.
On behalf of Pernod, DLA posted the request to the OFT last Thursday (6 January) demanding access to all internal communications of an OFT investigation into abuses by Pernod’s rival Bacardi. It has also asked to see Bacardi’s response to a rule 14 notice where the regulator set out its case against the company.
In 2002 the OFT proposed to find that Bacardi had behaved anticompetitively, but backed down after the drinks company gave voluntary undertakings. Pernod appealed to the Competition Appeal Tribunal last year.
DLA’s Mike Pullen said: “The act is a flagship piece of Government regulation and we hope the OFT will comply with both the letter and the spirit.” A spokesperson for the OFT said: “We will look at what information is requested on a case by case basis in line with the act.”