Price-fix inquiry on flooring contracts at Google HQ and other landmark buildings
Projects under investigation include prominent Google premises in Dublin
Google’s European headquarters on Barrow Street, Dublin. The Competition Authority is examining allegations that some subcontractors colluded over time on the prices submitted for large-scale commercial tenders, including six-figure and multimillion-euro contracts. Photograph: Paul McErlane/Bloomberg via Getty Images
The Competition Authority has raided the offices of four of the biggest industrial flooring contractors in the State, as part of an investigation into allegations of price-fixing in the flooring fit-out of major industrial projects. The projects include one of Google’s landmark buildings in Dublin.
The authority is examining allegations by an industry whistleblower that some subcontractors colluded over time on the prices submitted for large-scale commercial tenders, including six-figure and multimillion-euro contracts. The allegations, if proven, would constitute price-fixing.
As well as the Google building contract, others being reviewed include those for a Mastercard building in south Dublin. Contracts with several others for large organisations are also being reviewed.
“The authority can confirm that we are currently investigating allegations of bid-rigging in the industrial flooring sector,” it said. It declined to comment further.
Officials from the authority, in the presence of gardaí, raided the Mayo and Dublin premises of Crean Mosaics and Aston Carpets in April. Both were founded by Alan Crean, a prominent Mayo businessman. On the same date, it also visited Carpet Centre Contracts, controlled by Dublin businessman Dave Radburn.
The authority seized files and computer equipment, acting on foot of a court warrant. Following on from the initial raids six weeks ago it raided the offices of Floor Form Ireland, owned by a Northern Ireland company.
Representatives from all four companies were contacted yesterday but either declined to comment or did not return calls.
The accusations, which the authority is still investigating, are that a group of flooring contractors would allegedly collude to decide which of them would submit the lowest tender price for a job and at what level, and take turns to win different tenders over time.
Since the raids, Crean Mosaics won a tender at a Nama-owned building in the Beacon South Quarter, in Sandyford, although Nama did not award the contract.