Australian philanthropist admits price fixing



One of Australian Jewry’s major philanthropists has admitted his involvement in a price-fixing scandal.

Richard Pratt’s recycling company, Visy Industries, is expected to be fined a record $26.8 million to $35.8 million for price fixing with his firm’s chief competitor, Amcor, between 2000 and 2004.

The admission of guilt by Australia’s third-richest man was revealed Saturday in an Australian newspaper.

“I’ve had to wrestle with the choice of going to court to explain myself and try to clear my name or seeking a negotiated settlement which will necessarily involve admissions of breaking the law,” Pratt was quoted as saying. “On balance, the appropriate and pragmatic thing to do is settle. ”

Pratt said although he was not personally involved in authorizing the cartel, he would publicly apologize for breaching the Trade Practices Act.

Pratt, of Melbourne, donates $10.7 million each year through The Pratt Foundation that he and his wife, Jeanne, established more than 25 years ago. Many of the funds go to Australian Jewish causes and charities in Israel.

Pratt’s company is one of the world’s largest privately owned paper recycling companies, with more than 8,000 employees in Australia, New Zealand and the United States.

The case, which was due to go to court Oct. 16, is likely to be settled in the next few days.



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