January 18, 2016
Suspicted Cartel among Organizers of Flights and Services
for Youth Delegations to Poland
The National Fraud Investigation Unit of the Israel Police and the Antitrust Authority have announced that they are investigating suspicions that a number of leading travel agencies involved in the marketing, organization and logistics of flight and service packages for high-school youth delegations to Poland have colluded in order to restrict competition, thereby committing fraud and violating the Antitrust Law.
This morning, after a joint undercover investigation, Police and Antitrust Authority investigators arrested nine suspects and detained several others for interrogation on suspicion of involvement in the affair. In addition, searches were carried out in the homes and offices of the suspects and property, assets and bank accounts were seized for the purpose of a forfeiture request.
According to the allegations, the travel agencies colluded after receiving approval from the Ministry of Education to organize high-school youth delegations to Poland. It is alleged that they fixed prices and divided the market in order that schools would select them without any real competition between them.
The investigation was assisted by the attorneys of the Legal Department of the Antitrust Authority and the Economic Crimes Department of the State's Attorney's Office.
It is alleged that the suspects violated the Antitrust Law (restrictive arrangements under aggravated circumstances), committed fraud under aggravated circumstances and violated the Money Laundering Law. In addition, suspicions are being investigated that some of the suspects are guilty of bribery. As the investigation progresses, requests will be made to extend the detention of certain of the suspects.