Dead Pay: Greek Headstone Companies Face Collusion Charges

July 29, 2021

While nothing's certain but death and taxes, Greece's Competition Commission charged 15 companies and a nursing home charity on the island of Lesbos with conspiring to set prices for cemetery headstones, the survivors of the dead paying.

The agency said the alleged conspirators set up a cartel to make sure there wouldn't be competition or undercutting of fixed set prices that left families no option but to pay for monuments in the island's first and second cemeteries, said Kathimerini.

But the commission didn't fine them, saying that decision would be deferred until August although its own investigation accused them of the practice and said the arrangement had been going on since 2007.

The companies weren't named by the charity was identified as the Mytlinene Charity Institutions, a private law legal entity who runs a care unit for the elderly and chronically ill and also offers scholarships for undergraduate and postgraduate studies.

The charity is governed by a nine-member board of directors, under the chairmanship of the Metropolitan Bishop of Mytilene but it wasn't said if he or any of the board members would face prosecution.

According to the charity’s website, the finance ministry appoints two board members from the local community, while other members are drawn from the island’s professional chambers, the paper said.

“This case highlights the importance given by the Hellenic Competition Commission to the protection of competition, not also nationally but also locally, particularly on the Greek islands where the effects of anti-competitive practices may be more severe due to their relative market isolation,” the commission statement said.

If that's the case, however, there was no explanation why prosecutions haven't been brought or whether any of the accused would face any punishment if wrongdoing is proved in a court or otherwise.


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