Self-dealing, platinum parachutes, obscene profits — all these corporate acts inflame people, but I’ve now read a story that shows corporate executives sinking to a new low, engaging in an act that only the most depraved minds could imagine, let alone put into effect. Hold on to something tight because this story, out of Canada, is going to shock you to your core:
Newly released court documents allege that the Canadian divisions of Nestle, Mars, Hershey and others teamed up in a price-fixing scheme in the multibillion-dollar Canadian chocolate bar market.
Court documents in the case, unsealed by an Ottawa judge Friday, allege that senior executives at Hershey Canada Inc., Mars Canada Inc. and Nestle Canada Inc. met secretly in coffee shops, restaurants and at industry conventions to set prices.
The allegations are contained in two search warrants granted last month to Canada’s federal Competition Bureau as part of an investigation into the chocolate industry. The warrants authorized officials to seize thousands of corporate documents and computer files from Hershey, Mars, Nestle and ITWAL Ltd., a major food distributor. No charges have been filed.
The documents allege the chief executive of Nestle Canada handed envelopes stuffed with pricing information to a competitor, instructing the person not to be seen picking up the material in his office. ITWAL’s president also allegedly sent regular updates to participants.
I doubt that even the old style plutocrats — the Vanderbilts and Rockefellers, etc — would have sunk so low as to mess with the chocolate market. I’m only grateful that it was Canadian corporations, not American corps, that engaged in this truly heinous act.