One of Israel's largest gas companies might soon see its director jailed, pending the approval of a plea bargain in which SuperGas' Moshe Oldek confessed to colluding to stifle competition. The company could be fined NIS 3.8 million.
The deal, which the Antitrust Authority submitted yesterday for approval by Judge Itzhak Inbar of the Jerusalem District Court, would send Oldek to 100 days in prison. Additionally, he would be sentenced to a suspended prison term of 12 months and a fine of NIS 150,000.
Two other defendants - former director Zvi Tagar and SuperGas' sales director, Ronnie Rotem - face suspended prison terms, community service and heavy fines. Tagar will be required to serve one month of community service, and pay an NIS 600,000 fine. Rotem will be required to put in 6 months of community service and pay a fine of NIS 100,000.
In the proposed plea bargain, the defendants admitted to joining PazGas, AmisraGas and DorGas in a cartel, and to formulating an illegal agreement with the companies, which at the time controlled 95 percent of Jerusalem's gas market.
The executives confessed to meeting with company managers between 1994 and 1996 at hotels in the capital where they tried to reach understandings over how to carve up the consumer market in such a way as to bar competing companies from entering the scene.
The state is still prosecuting DorGas executives for their alleged part in the affair, which broke in 2004 and was dubbed "the gas cartel." Executives from the two other gas companies have already signed plea bargains with the state.
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