Charges of price-fixing were issued yesterday against four major bread bakeries and their corporate heads, over allegations that go back nearly two and a half years.
According to the indictment issued by the Antitrust Authority, Angel Bakeries CEO Yaron Angel, Berman's Bakery CEO Yehuda Schneidman, Merhavit Bakery chairman CEO Yohanan Aharonson and Davidovich Bakery CEO Shaike Davidovich together with other, smaller bakeries, conspired to establish a cartel.
They are accused of setting prices, preventing competition and dividing up the country's bread and baked-goods market among themselves, in violation of the Restrictive Trade Practices Law, acting in concert to raise prices for bread under price controls.
The bakery executives allegedly met in coffee shops, a gas station on the Trans-Israel Highway and even in lawyers' offices to work out the scheme.
"This is a very serious affair that was investigated thoroughly," antitrust commissioner David Gilo said.
The agency stressed that the alleged offenses were particularly heinous in that they had the potential to hurt large numbers of people at the lowest rungs of Israeli society, especially families with many children for whom bread is an important staple.
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