Former BA bosses to stand trial for price fixing

One current and three former British Airways senior executives are to stand trial next month following an Office of Fair Trading probe in their alleged involvement in price-fixing.
BA’s head of sales Andrew Crawley is due to appear before City of London Magistrates Court on 24 September. Also due are former commercial director Martin George, ex head of communications Iain Burns and ex UK and Ireland head of sales Alan Burnett.

The men were on the list of 10 former and current BA executives identified by the US government as being liable to possible extradition and prosecution over price fixing that has already cost BA over £270m in fines - £121m by the OFT and £150m by the US Department of Justice.

The four are accused of “having dishonestly agreed with others to make or implement arrangements which directly or indirectly fixed the price for the supply in the UK of passenger air transport services by BA and Virgin Atlantic”.

Mr George and Mr Burns resigned from BA in 2006, while Mr Burnett retired in the same year.

Under whistle blower protection rules, Virgin was granted UK immunity after bringing the matter to the attention of the OFT.

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BA Chief Executive, Willie Walsh, has said the legal breach was “deeply regrettable” and last year said he would be “very happy” to see full details of the scandal emerge in court because people “deserve to know what happened”.

Passengers who travelled on long haul flights with either of the airlines between August 2004 and March 2006 can apply for a refund worth about one-third of the fuel surcharge, up to £20 per ticket.

It is understood that the remaining six former BA employees are still under investigation by the department of justice.
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