Antitrust Authority Investigates Lesbos Cemetery Cartel

Fifteen tombstone companies and a charity that operates a nursing home are accused of running a cartel in Lesbos for nearly 15 years in Lesbos to set prices for tombstones, according to the country’s antitrust authority.

In a statement released earlier this week, the Greek Competition Commission said an investigation showed that 15 companies that were supposed to offer competitive market prices for the erection of cemetery monuments in the first and second cemeteries of Mytilene and a charitable organization established a cartel that inflated prices in damage to buyers.

The commission said it will decide at a meeting next month to impose fines on members of the alleged cartel, which has been operating since 2007.

The commission’s statement also mentions the Mytilene Charity Institutions, a private-law legal entity. She runs the Aged and Chronic Care Unit and offers scholarships for undergraduate and postgraduate studies. The charity is governed by a nine-member board of directors chaired by Metropolitan Bishop Mytilene.

According to the charity’s website, the Treasury Department appoints two councilors from the local community, while other members are recruited from the island’s professional chambers.

“This case underlines the importance that the Greek Competition Commission attaches to the protection of competition not only at the national but also at the local level. Especially in the Greek islands, where the consequences of anti-competitive practices may be more severe due to their relative market isolation, ”the commission said in a statement.

This case is a wake-up call for other similar cartels in Greece, where the cemetery business is highly criminalized.

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