The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has suspended its investigation into price-fixing in the sports retailing business, just days after announcing £50m fines for the same crime in the dairy industry.
Whilst an investigation by the Serious Fraud Office into alleged cartelism amongst sports clothing retailers continues, the OFT has told the companies under investigation - Sports Direct and JJB Sports - that it will "provisionally...close its investigation...before reaching a final decision."
The OFT says on its website: "The OFT's provisional decision does not amount to a statement as to whether or not the law has been infringed and should not be interpreted as such. Nor does it affect the investigation being conducted by the Serious Fraud Office."
Sports Direct and JJB were under scrutiny for alleged infractions of British and EC anti-competitive laws.
JJB was not to be fined for its alleged involvement in price-fixing due to OFT 'leniency' policies that allow cooperative businesses to avoid financial penalties. Sports Direct, on the other hand, would have faced a fine of up to ten per cent of its annual turnover if found guilty, according to BBC news..