OFT is on trial

So far all the focus has been on BA and what the impact could be on the airline . But there is as much at stake for the regulator, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), in this investigation as there is for the airline industry.

The OFT has announced that this is a criminal investigation using the new powers it acquired under the Enterprise Act 2002. The act allows a criminal prosecution to be brought, bringing with it a maximum sentence of five years and an unlimited fine.

New OFT chief executive John Fingleton would have certainly made the decision to launch the investigation and the pressure will now be on to deliver results. Fingleton has already announced high-profile investigations into supermarkets and the takeover of airport operator BAA and is obviously looking for some significant scalps – no doubt hoping it’s not his own.Get the latest news and an irreverent commentary delivered to your desktop every Wednesday by subscribing to Lawyer News Weekly.

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