Former BlueScope exec pleads guilty to inciting false evidence

Former Bluescope exec, Jason Ellis, told colleagues to lie to the ACCC about conversations they had with other steel companies.

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red sign stating 'guilty' representing guilty plea from Bluescope exec

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A former BlueScope Steel Limited (ASX: BSL) executive has pleaded guilty to inciting colleagues to give false evidence to a cartel enquiry.

Jason Ellis was the general manager of sales and marketing at BlueScope when he instructed two other employees to give false evidence to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

The watchdog was investigating alleged cartel behaviour at BlueScope, and Ellis’ incitement related to conversations he and the colleagues had with other steel companies.

According to ACCC Chair, Rod Sims, the conviction was unprecedented.

“This is the first time an individual has been charged with inciting the obstruction of a Commonwealth public official in relation to an ACCC investigation,” he said.

The Motley Fool has contacted BlueScope Steel for comment.

Ellis will be sentenced at a local court hearing on 8 December.

ACCC’s separate civil case against Ellis and BlueScope remains in the Federal Court.

In that case, the competition watchdog alleges BlueScope and Ellis attempted to put in a price fixing regime with multiple steel distributors.

The BlueScope share price was down 2.44% as at 12:50pm AEST, to fall to $12.38. It was as high as $18.83 back in July 2018.

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