A dispute between British Airways and the Office of Fair Trading over a £121.5 million price fixing fine is reportedly set to come to a head over the summer.
The OFT has set a deadline for payment of the end of the year after the fine was left unpaid for four years.
It was imposed by the OFT in a price-fixing probe involving BA and Virgin Atlantic.
BA agreed to pay the fine in August 2007 but reassessed its position after a criminal case brought by the OFT into BA executives collapsed.
The airline said: “The grounds upon which the original agreed settlement between the OFT and BA back in August 2007 were based are still currently being reviewed.”
Although both sides have remained tight-lipped over the issue, the OFT has now said it will issue its statement of objections in the third quarter of this financial year – effectively forcing BA to pay the fine or challenge it, the Daily Telegraph reported.
The price-fixing settlement is the largest fine ever levied by the OFT. It seemed to be a major success for the watchdog when it was announced in August 2007 alongside a $300 million fine from the US Department of Justice which was paid by BA.
But the OFT's criminal case brought against BA employees collapsed.
Reports at the time said BA would use evidence disclosed in the criminal proceedings to reassess the civil settlement it had agreed.
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