OFT cartels director takes on criminal enforcement

The Office of Fair Trading has promoted its director of cartel investigations Simon Williams to senior director of cartels and criminal enforcement.

Williams, who spent four and a half years in his previous position, will continue to head up the cartels. He will also be responsible for criminal consumer enforcement which has come about through the introduction of the new Consumer Protection Regulations.

John Fingleton, OFT chief executive said Williams’ new position will allow the development of the watchdog’s cartels team.

“Simon has been key to helping us demonstrate the OFT’s commitment to rigorously tackling anti-competitive behaviour by cartels and he has helped us to deliver a number of high impact outcomes over the last few years.” said Fingleton.

Before joining the OFT, Williams previously worked for the Serious Fraud Office and HM Customs and Excise.

He oversaw the reform of the OFT’s leniency policy, which gives companies immunity for reporting cartel activity, as well as the introduction of an informant reward programme, which makes financial incentives available for information about cartels.

The news of Williams’ appointment comes on the same day as a new tribunal starts work to ensure credit businesses have a more independent route of appeal against decisions by the OFT.

The Consumer Credit Appeals tribunal (CCAT), which was created by the Consumer Credit Act 2006 replaces the existing system of appeals to the department for business, enterprise and regulatory reform (BERR).

The CCAT president judge Peter Wulwik said: “An independent, effective and accessible tribunal is vital to ensure access to justice.”

Judge Wulwik will be supported by three legal members and nine non-legal members. The President and members have transferred from the existing Consumer Credit Appeals Panel ensuring expertise in this field will be retained.