A guilty plea and agreement with Canada's Competition Bureau will mean a $3.8 million (CA$4 million) fine for Hershey Canada Inc. The company also agreed to cooperate with prosecutors in the chocolate price-fixing case which brought charges against the Kiss-makers, as well as Nestle Canada, Mars Canada and the national wholesale network ITWAL Ltd.
"Price-fixing is a serious criminal offence, regardless of whether it is in the chocolate confectionery market or any other industry," Commissioner of Competition John Pecman said in a statement on Friday, The Canadian Press reports.
In exchange for the plea and cooperating with the Competition Bureau, Hershey will receive leniency in the case, per the Competition Bureau's program for working with companies who disclose offenses and aid prosecution efforts. Two former Nestle executives and ITWAL's CEO also face charges, which could potentially result in $9.5 million (CA$10 million) fines and five-year jail sentences.
In this case, the program seems to have provided enough incentive for Hershey to speak up first.