Criminal sanctions

Anticompetitive practices

Criminal Sanctions : An overview of EU and national case law
Baker McKenzie (London)
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Baker McKenzie (London)
Introduction It is, perhaps, time to take stock of the issue of ’criminal antitrust’ in the EU. In recent years there has been a greater focus on the criminalisation of competition law, in particular in respect of cartels, in numerous jurisdictions around the world. The US has long advocated (...)

The Danish Public Prosecutor settles charges on a violation of cartel law by allocation of costs and bid rigging in the construction industry (Hansen & Søn)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
Denmark: ”Construction company pays fine in settlement for bid rigging – first case closed in construction industry cartel”* On 14 July 2014, the company N.H. Hansen & Søn (a Danish construction company) entered into a settlement with the Danish Public Prosecutor for Serious Economic and (...)

The Danish Public Prosecutor settles charges of of resale price maintenance to some of the company’s dealers and the prevention of parallel imports and passive sales (Witt Hvidevarer)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
Denmark: ”Distributor of white goods pays fine in settlement for resale price maintenance and prevention of parallel imports and passive sales”* On 10 July, 2014, the company Witt Hvidevarer (a Danish distributor of white goods) entered into a settlement with the Danish Public Prosecutor for (...)

The UK Southwark Crown Court allows reporting of the fact that at an earlier hearing the accused pleaded guilty to the charge of criminal cartel offence (Peter Nigel Snee)
University of East Anglia - CCP (Norwich)
Article published on Centre for Competition Policy blog. The First Real Test of Sentencing for the UK Cartel Offence* A former managing director charged with the UK’s cartel offence has pleaded guilty to the criminal offence of price fixing. Peter Nigel Snee pleaded guilty to fixing the price (...)

The Canadian Competition Bureau announces criminal charges for involvement in an illegal bid-rigging arrangement relating to the provision of IT services (Library and Archives)
Steve Szentesi Law Corporation
Bid-rigging Cases: Competition Bureau Charges IT Company, 6 Individuals in IT Bid-rigging Case* The Canadian Competition Bureau (Bureau) announced earlier on 2 May 2014 that criminal charges have been laid in a federal government IT contract-related bid-rigging case. According to the Bureau, (...)

The Canadian Competition Bureau announces that a corporation and two individuals have pleaded guilty to price-fixing in relation to an ocean freight cartel (ECU Line Canada)
Steve Szentesi Law Corporation
Guilty Pleas in Ocean Freight Price-Fixing Cartel, Bureau Begins Promoting New Compliance Materials Earlier today, the Competition Bureau announced that one company and two individuals have pleaded guilty to price-fixing under the Competition Act in relation to an ocean freight cartel (see: (...)

The US DOJ announces successful litigation of its first extradition for an alleged involvement with the marine hose cartel (Romano Pisciotti)
Sheppard Mullin (Washington)
What Does the First-Ever Extradition on an Antitrust Charge Mean for the Auto Parts Investigation?* On April 4, 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division announced a milestone victory, having successfully litigated its first extradition for an alleged antitrust violation. Romano (...)

The US DoJ obtains the extradition of an Italian citizen from Germany to US on a charge of participation in a price fixing cartel (Marine Hose)
Paul Hastings (Washington)
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Primerio
Executives Beware: The Long-Arm of the U.S. Government Strikes Again* The long-arm of the U.S. government and its increasing willingness to pursue foreign nationals for alleged violations of U.S. law was further in evidence last Friday when the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Justice Department (...)

The DoJ obtains the first extradition of an executive on a charge of participation to a cartel (Marine Hose)
Jones Day (Los Angeles)
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Jones Day (Washington)
U.S. DOJ Obtains First-Ever Extradition on Antitrust Charge* On April 4, 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) announced its first successful extradition to the United States on an antitrust charge. Romano Pisciotti, an Italian national and a former executive with Parker ITR Srl, was (...)

The Danish State Prosecutor for Serious Economic and International Crime grants immunity from sanctions concerning bid rigging in the cleaning industry
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
Denmark: ”Immunity in a cartel case granted for the first time”* An undertaking and a natural person in the cleaning industry has been granted immunity from sanctions in a cartel case for the disclosure of information regarding the cartel. It is the first time that the State Prosecutor for (...)

The Canadian Superior Court of Justice imposes fines on multinational corporation for its participation in a bid-rigging conspiracy on the market for motor vehicle components (Panasonic)
Steve Szentesi Law Corporation
Auto Parts Investigation Rolls Along: Former Auto Parts Executive Sentenced to 1 Year in Prison for Deleting E-mails, Panasonic to Pay $4.5 M in Canada* In what can only be called a sobering reminder earlier on 20 February 2014 of the importance of not obstructing an ongoing criminal antitrust (...)

The UK OFT brings criminal charges against ex-manager following an investigation into suspected cartel conduct in respect of the supply of galvanised steel tanks for water storage (Peter Nigel Snee)
University of East Anglia - CCP (Norwich)
Article published on Centre for Competition Policy blog. Can the OFT Succeed in its Latest Attempt at Bringing Criminal Charges Against an Individual for Cartel Conduct?* The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) has charged Peter Nigel Snee under section 188 of the Enterprise Act 2002. It is alleged (...)

The OFT initiates a criminal prosecution for a cartel offence before being replaced by the newly formed Competition and Markets Authority (Peter Nigel Snee)
Newcastle University
On the 27th January 2014, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) announced that Peter Nigel Snee had appeared before Westminster Magistrates Court to face a charge under section 188 of the Enterprise Act 2002, commonly known as the “cartel offence”. It is alleged that Mr Snee dishonestly agreed with (...)

The UK OFT brings criminal charges for involvement in hardcore restrictions on the market for galvanised steel tanks (Peter Nigel Snee)
Hogan Lovells (London)
UK flexes its criminal enforcement muscle* In a move that signals that UK criminal cartel enforcement is set to increase, Peter Nigel Snee appeared on 27 January 2014 at Westminster Magistrates’ Court to face charges under the UK’s criminal cartel offence. Mr Snee has been charged under section (...)

The US DoJ announces that three Northern California real estate investors have agreed to plead guilty for their roles in conspiracies to rig bids (Silva / Bishop / Gee)
Bona Law (San Diego)
Even Individual Real-Estate Investors Can Violate The Antitrust Laws* When you think about a government antitrust investigation, you probably picture monopoly accusations against large companies like Microsoft in the 90’s and early 2000’s or AT&T in the 70’s and 80’s. Or perhaps you imagine a (...)

An Israeli Criminal Court convicts for the first time defendants in antitrust case for attempting to engage in illegal vertical restrictive arrangements and for violating merger conditions (Shufersal)
Eshel, Ashlagi, Rozent Law Offices (Tel Aviv)
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Eshel, Ashlagi, Rozent Law Offices (Tel Aviv)
On December 23, 2013, The Israeli District Court of the City of Jerusalem found the company operating the leading nationwide supermarket chain in Israel - Shufersal Ltd. ("Shufersal"), its CEO, Mr. Ephraim (Effie) Rosenhaus ("Rosenhaus") and its Deputy VP Commerce and Marketing, Mr. Eliezer (...)

The US DoJ announces agreement to plead guilty in relation to participation in a conspiracy to fix prices of seatbelts installed in cars (Takata)
Bowman Gilfilan (Cape Town)
“More Auto Parts Cartels Uncovered – Do Sanctions Not Deter Competition Law Contraventions?”* In October last year, Takata Corp. of Japan announced that it would pay US$71.3 million to settle charges of competition law infringements brought by U.S. prosecutors over price-fixing on seat belts sold (...)

The US Senate’s Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights holds cartel related hearings
Steve Szentesi Law Corporation
New Publications: DoJ & FTC Testimony Posted from Antitrust Subcommittee Hearings* The Americans are not ones to pussy foot around when it comes to economic crime. Yesterday, the U.S. Senate’s Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights held cartel related hearings (...)

The Australian Federal Court establishes that the defendant has been directly knowingly involved in the anticompetitive arrangements and imposes criminal sanctions (Chaste Corporation)
Australian Competition and Consumer Commission
Peter Foster sentenced for contempt of court* The Federal Court has sentenced Peter Foster to three years imprisonment, with 18 months to be served and 18 months suspended, for contempt of court. Justice Logan also placed conditions on Mr Foster’s involvement in the weight loss, cosmetic or (...)

The US DoJ and FTC heads discuss antitrust enforcement priorities
Wolters Kluwer (Riverwoods)
U.S. Agency Heads Discuss Antitrust Enforcement Priorities* Two of the most significant conferences on the antitrust calendar were held last week. Georgetown Law Center featured its Seventh Annual Global Antitrust Enforcement Symposium on September 25, and Fordham Law School’s 40th annual (...)

A US District Court indicts an executive officer who is accused of agreeing to coordinate bids and fix prices of automotive parts (US / Shingo Okuda, G.S. Electech)
Compliance Systems Legal Group
The Auto Parts Antitrust Case: Is This What Success Looks Like?* Wow, what a success! The Antitrust Division recently announced that its investigations in the auto parts market uncovered “separate conspiracies to fix the prices of more than 30 different products sold to US car manufacturers ….” (...)

The Danish Public Prosecutor for Serious Economic and International Crime settles with a cartel participant, major player in the market for white goods (Miele)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
Miele A/S, Denmark, pays fine in settlement for resale price maintenance and prevention of parallel imports on white goods* On July 18, 2013, Miele A/S, Denmark, entered into a settlement with the Danish Public Prosecutor for Serious Economic and International Crime for infringing section 6 of (...)

The Danish Competition Authority cartel settles with a domestic distributor of leisure weapons (HG Agencies)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
Distributor of leisure weapons pays fine in settlement for resale price maintenance* On June 30, 2013, the owner of the company HG Agencies (a Danish distributor of leisure weapons) entered into a settlement with the Danish Competition and Consumer Authority for infringing section 6 of the (...)

The Danish Public Prosecutor for Serious Economic and International Crime settles in a case of resale price maintenance in relation to dealers and the prevention of parallel imports (Bosch / Siemens)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
BSH pays fine in settlement for resale price maintenance and prevention of parallel imports on white goods* On April 24, 2013, BSH White Goods entered into a settlement with the Danish Public Prosecutor for Serious Economic and International Crime for infringing section 6 of the Danish (...)

The German Federal Court of Justice rules that, unlike in the EU, the German 10%-limit for calculating fines is not a cap but rather constitutes a ceiling of a framework within which a fine has to be calculated (Grauzementkartell)
Mayer Brown (Brussels)
In its judgment of 26 February 2013, the German Federal Court of Justice ("FCJ") upheld the decision of the Higher Regional Court of Düsseldorf and confirmed that Sect. 81(4) Sentence 2 Act Against Restraints of Competition ("ARC") is in conformity with the German constitution. This provision (...)

The Canadian Judge at the Superior Court of Quebec convicts three individuals for conspiring to fix gas prices in two Quebec cities (R/Gosselin)
Affleck Greene McMurtry
Gas price fixers convicted after trial* A Quebec Superior Court judge recently convicted three individuals of conspiring to fix gas prices in two Quebec cities, Sherbrooke and Magog. To date 33 individuals and seven companies have been convicted fixing gas prices in Quebec and eastern (...)

The Belgium Constitutional Court rules that fines imposed under Reg. n°1/2003 are not tax deductible under Belgian law (Tessenderlo Chemie)
Liège University - IEJE
I. Facts The European Commission opened an enquiry about alleged violation of EU competition law against Tessenderlo Chemie, a Belgian company. Tessenderlo Chemie made provisions in order to pay the expected fine. These provisions were tax exempted until 2008 when article 53 of the Belgian (...)

A German Court of appeal confirms that the EU concept of an "economic unit" does not apply under German law but rather the principle of legal personality (Silostellgebühren II)
Mayer Brown (Brussels)
The judgment of 17 December 2012 of the Higher Regional Court Düsseldorf ("Court") deals with the interpretation of Sect. 81(4) Act against Restraints of Competition ("ARC"), which is the statutory basis for the German Federal Cartel Office ("FCO") to issue a fine for antitrust infringements. (...)

The US District Court for the Northern District of California imposes $500 M fine on a Taiwan-based liquid crystal display producer for price fixing (AU Optronics)
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Washington)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Washington)
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Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Washington)
On September 20, Judge Susan Illston of the Northern District of California handed down sentences to AU Optronics Corporation and two company executives, following their convictions in March for participating in a global price-fixing conspiracy involving LCD screens used in computers and (...)

The US District Court for the Northern District of California imposes $500 M fine on a Taiwan-based liquid crystal display (LCD) producer for its participation in a five-year conspiracy to fix the prices of thin-film transistor LCD panels (AU Optronics)
Wolters Kluwer (Riverwoods)
Acting Antitrust Chief Attributes Recent Enforcement Successes to Focus on Litigation Skills* On September 20, 2012 the federal district court in San Francisco imposed a record-tying $500 million fine on AU Optronics Corporation (AUO), a Taiwan-based liquid crystal display (LCD) producer, for (...)

A US District Court allows a plea of nolo contendere, while retaining full discretion at sentencing to impose any penalty and fine against a price-fixing conspiracy engaged by an air cargo carrier (Florida West)
King & Wood Mallesons (Sydney)
This article was originally published on In Competition by King & Wood Mallesons (click here). US District Court blows full time on cartel proceedings against Florida West* The District Court has made the rare decision to accept a plea of no contest from airline Florida West, ending the (...)

The Canadian Competition Bureau jointly lays 77 charges against 11 individuals and 9 companies in the construction industry in connection with a Quebec bid-rigging case (Carrière Bernier, Cie Wilfrid Allen)
Steve Szentesi Law Corporation
Competition Bureau Jointly Lays 77 Charges Against 11 Individuals and 9 Companies in Quebec Bid-rigging Case – Tough Stance on Criminal Enforcement Continues* On June 21, 2012 the Competition Bureau announced that, together with the Unité permanente anticorruption (UPAC) in Quebec, it has laid (...)

The US District Court for the Northern District of California denies motions for acquittal and for a new trial in LCD price-fixing conspiracy case (AU Optronics)
Wolters Kluwer (Riverwoods)
Convictions in LCD Panel Price Fixing Case Stand After Motions for Acquittal, New Trial Rejected* The government’s successful prosecution of AU Optronics Corporation, its wholly-owned U.S. subsidiary, and two former company executives serves as a cautionary tale. The case marks the first time a (...)

A Northern District of California jury finds two of five defendants, all from Taiwan, guilty of conspiring to fix the prices of thin-film transistor liquid crystal displays (AU Optronics)
White & Case (Washington)
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White & Case (Washington)
Are Antitrust Violations Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude?* On March 13, 2012, the United States obtained its first trial convictions ever against foreign nationals for antitrust violations under the Sherman Act. A Northern District of California jury found two of the five defendants, all from (...)

A Federal jury in San Francisco returns verdicts in rare price-fixing trial of global liquid-crystal displays conspiracy (AU Optronics)
Jones Day (Brussels)
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Jones Day (Beijing)
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Jones Day (Tokyo)
Companies and individuals that are accused of price-fixing rarely go to trial. Indeed, in the last 10 years, no corporate defendant (and only a handful of individuals) has elected to litigate an international criminal cartel case in a U.S. court. The vast majority of cases are resolved through (...)

The US DoJ obtains guilty plea by two Japanese suppliers of automotive electrical components imposing a $548 M fine for their involvement in price fixing and bid rigging conspiracies in the auto parts sales (Automotive component suppliers’ cartel)
Wolters Kluwer (Riverwoods)
Fines Mounting in Department of Justice Auto Parts Cartel Investigation* The Department of Justice today announced a total of $548 million in fines resulting from a second round of charges in the government’s ongoing investigation into collusive activity in the auto parts industry. Two more (...)

The UK OFT closes criminal investigation in the automotive sector
DLA Piper
On 4 October 2011, the OFT announced that it had closed its criminal investigation into alleged criminal conduct under the Enterprise Act 2002 cartel offence, involving suppliers to the automotive sector. Under the Enterprise Act 2002, the OFT has the ability to investigate suspected criminal (...)

The US Supreme Court denies petition to review conviction for conspiring to obstruct justice in a price-fixing investigation in carbon products industry (Norris)
Wolters Kluwer (Riverwoods)
Antitrust Decision from Supreme Court Unlikely During Current Term* It is beginning to look like the U.S. Supreme Court will not be taking up any antitrust cases in the current term. Last week, the Court denied six petitions for review in antitrust-related matters. Just yesterday, the Court (...)

The Czech Competition Authority hands out penalties to five participants in a bid rigging cartel in the construction industry (Inzet)
BPV Braun Partners
Penalty for first Czech Bid Rigging Case Confirmed by Court* Bid rigging has for a long time been a merely theoretical example of criminal liability in Czech Antitrust law without any actual cases decided. Until 2010 with the introduction of criminal liability for hard-core horizontal cartels, (...)

The German Competition Authority imposes a fine of € 17 500 000 for a cartel agreement concerning turntable ladders for fire engines (Iveco Magirus, Metz Aerials, Rosenbauer)
European Commission
Germany: Cartel Agreement concerning Turntable Ladders for Fire Engines fined with € 17 500 000* On 27 July 2011, the Bundeskartellamt (BKartA) has imposed a fine of € 17 500 000 against Iveco Magirus Brandschutztechnik GmbH for its involvement in anti-competitive agreements on the manufacture (...)

A Belgium criminal court fines a supermarket chain for misleading advertising due to the absence or limited availability of products subject to special promotion (Lidl)
UGGC Avocats (Brussels)
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Buyle Legal (Brussels)
I. Introduction In a judgment dated 12 January 2011, currently under appeal, the Ghent Criminal Court imposed a € 27,500 fine on the supermarket chain Lidl for advertising on a national scale products at a discounted price that were either not available or available only for a very short time (...)

A French working group recommends the abandonment of the "damage to the economy" criterion for the calculation of antitrust sanctions and urges the French Competition Authority to adopt guidelines (Commission Folz-Raysseguier-Schaub)
Fieldfisher (London)
On the 20th September 2010 the Folz-Raysseguier-Schaub working group presented to Ms. Christine Lagarde, Minister of Economy, its report on antitrust penalties. The committee consisted of Mr. Jean-Martin Folz, former president of PSA’s executive board, Mr. Christian Raysseguier, Advocate General (...)

The Mexican Competition Commission fines five undertakings and five individuals for price fixing in the trucking market (CanaCar)
Jones Day (Mexico)
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Jones Day (Mexico)
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Jones Day (Mexico)
On June 14, 2010, the Mexican Federal Competition Commission (also known as Cofeco or CFC) announced its decision to fine a group of companies and individuals in the trucking industry, whom Cofeco charged with agreeing to impose a standard fuel surcharge, in violation of Mexican antitrust law. (...)

The UK OFT concludes the promising criminal case brought against the main national airline’s executives (British Airways)
WTG Events
I. Legal background The UK criminalized competition law in 2002 by adopting the Enterprise Act, which came into force in June 2003. It set up a whole new framework to prosecute, on a criminal basis, the individuals responsible for the establishment and implementation of hard-core cartels: the (...)

The Canadian Competition Bureau releases the final version of its Competitor Collaboration Guidelines instituting a new dual-track approach for conspiracy and agreement between competitors (section 45 and 90.1 Competition Act)
Université de Laval
On December 23, 2009 the Competition Bureau (the “Bureau”) released the final version of its Competitor Collaboration Guidelines (“Guidelines”) that outlines the Bureau’s approach to enforce the new agreement provisions resulting from the fundamental changes induced by Bill C-10. Bill C-10 overhauls (...)

The Italian Revenue Police raids pasta makers during an investigation into a suspected price-fixing cartel (Barilla, De Cecco, Garofalo, Amato, Di Vella)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 15 December 2009, a number of Italy’s largest pasta makers were raided by the Italian Revenue Police as part of a criminal investigation into a suspected price-fixing cartel, which is alleged to have caused an increase in the retail price of pasta by 50% in the last two years. The (...)

The Romanian Competition Authority imposes an 8% fine to an association of undertakings for price fixing and refers for the first time to criminal investigation bodies (Association of the Depositories of Cereals)
NNDKP
Price fixing by associations of undertakings is no novelty in the competition world. Neither are heavy fines, although it is not often that a competition authority reaches an 8% fine for a short term infringement (be it price fixing), and without application of any aggravating circumstances. (...)

A U.S. District Court imposes a record jail sentence for antitrust conspiracy (Baci, DOJ)
Jones Day (Washington)
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Jones Day (Washington)
Earlier this year, the U.S. Department of Justice obtained the longest term ever imposed for a single antitrust violation. It wanted more. Peter Baci, former executive of a U.S. shipping company, was sentenced by a Florida federal district court to serve four years in jail and pay a $ 20,000 (...)

The Australian Parliament amends its antitrust legislation to introduce criminal sanctions against cartel offenses (Trade Practices Amendement Act 2009)
Jones Day (Sydney)
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Jones Day (Sydney)
Two more jurisdictions, Australia and South Africa, may now join the growing number of countries that impose criminal penalties for antitrust violations. The legislatures in both countries recently introduced legislation that amends their competition law statutes to criminalize cartel offenses. (...)

The South African Parliament amends the Competition Act to introduce criminal sanctions against cartel offenses (Competition Amendment Act 2009)
Jones Day (Sydney)
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Jones Day (Sydney)
Two more jurisdictions, Australia and South Africa, may now join the growing number of countries that impose criminal penalties for antitrust violations. The legislatures in both countries recently introduced legislation that amends their competition law statutes to criminalize cartel offenses. (...)

The President of the Czech Republic signs the new Criminal Code which introduces criminal sanctions for horizontal agreements
Havel, Holasek & Partners (Prague)
Introduction On 27 January 2009, the President of the Czech Republic signed the new Criminal Code adopted by the Chamber of Deputies and approved by the Senate. The codex will enter into force on 1 January 2010 whereby it will replace the current Criminal Code, dating back to 1961. In short, (...)

The Danish public prosecutor inflicts the highest personal fine ever to flour producer and its director for resale price maintenance contrary to the Competition Act (Valsemølle)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
On 27 November 2008, the Danish flour producer Valsemølle A/S and its director accepted fines of DKK 1 million (EUR 134,000) and DKK 100,000 (EUR 13,000) respectively for having infringed Article 6 of the Danish Competition Act (national provision similar to Article 81 of the EC Treaty) by (...)

The Czech Chamber of Deputies adopts a new Code criminalising horizontal agreements
Government of the Czech Republic
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European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
After 11 November 2008, it appears that the managers of cartel members will have to add Prague to the growing list of “Airports to Avoid”. In fact, on that day, the Czech Chamber of Deputies adopted a new Criminal Code which, among other things, introduces the criminal offence of “breach of (...)

The Turkish Competition Board confirms lack of anticompetitive conduct in the bio-tech pharmaceuticals market despite evidence of bid rigging brought by criminal proceedings (Roche)
University of Leeds
The Turkish Competition Board (TCB) confirmed its previous finding of lack of anticompetitive conduct by Roche in the bio-tech pharmaceuticals market in Turkey. The decision of the TCB comes after its original decision being annulled by the Council of State for not having taken into (...)

The UK OFT secures the first ever criminal convictions against individuals for cartel offences: A milestone in antitrust enforcement (Marine Hoses Cartel)
Bond Dickinson
Introduction On 11 June 2008, at Southwark Crown Court, His Honour Judge Geoffrey Rivlin QC marked the beginning of a new era in antitrust enforcement in the UK when he entered the first ever criminal convictions against individuals for a cartel offence under section 188 of the Enterprise Act (...)

The UK Office of Fair Trading issues the first imprisonment and director’s disqualification orders against individuals prosecuted for criminal cartel (Marine Hoses Cartel)
WTG Events
On 19 December 2007, the Office of Fair Trading (hereinafter “OFT”) charged three UK businessmen with cartel offence under the Enterprise Act. This was the first time that charges had been brought for cartel offence. The three men were arrested at the airport, where they were, following the (...)

The Danish public prosecutor negotiates a fine with an association of suppliers of nautical equipment, its director and chairman for price agreements and retail price maintenance (Nautisk Udstyr)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
On the 20 April 2008, the association Nautisk Udstyr ApS, accepted to pay a fine of DKK 400,000 (EUR 53,000) for infringing the Danish Competition Act. The association’s director and Chairman also each accepted a personal fine of DKK 25,000 (EUR 3,000) for their involvement. The investigation (...)

The UK House of Lords establishes that the conspiracy to defraud offence may not replace the cartel offence, for facts before 2003, where no deceit, misrepresentation nor lies are involved (Norris)
WTG Events
I - The NHS case On 28 March 2007, Ajit P. and Kirta P., CEO and COO respectively of Goldshield Group, the drug supplier, were arrested in London on suspicion of price-fixing, from 1996 to 2000, concerning generic drugs at the detriment of the UK’s National Health Service (hereinafter “NHS”). (...)

The UK’s House of Lords issues a leading judgement on criminal antitrust proceedings in the "Norris saga" (Norris)
Clayton Utz (Sydney)
Introduction On 12 March 2008, the UK’s House of Lords (“HOL”) allowed an appeal by Ian Norris, former chief executive of Morgan Crucible plc, against an attempt by the US’s Department of Justice (“DOJ”) to extradite him for (1) price fixing offences having effects in the US and (2) obstruction of (...)

An Estonian Court rules in a criminal case concerning an attempt to fix prices, share markets and engage in collective boycott in the freight services market (Oleg Ossinovski and Spacecom)
COBALT Legal
On 21 December 2007, the Harju County Court (a court of first instance) convicted a railway freight services provider, AS Spacecom (“Spacecom”), and its management board member Oleg Ossinovski of an attempt to agree on restrictions of competition with its main competitor Eesti Raudtee (Estonian (...)

The UK Office of Fair Trading brings for the first time criminal charges based on the Enterprise Act of 2002 for cartel offence (Marine Hoses Cartel)
WTG Events
On 19 December 2007, the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) charged three UK businessmen with cartel offence under the Enterprise Act. This is the first time that charges have been brought for the cartel offence which came into force in 2003. The three men were arrested at the airport, where they (...)

The UK OFT initiates criminal proceedings against cartel members for the first time in its history following unprecedented levels of co-operation with US authorities (Marine Hoses Cartel)
Bond Dickinson
On 19 December 2007, the British Office of Fair Trading (“OFT”) announced that an oil industry executive trio was charged with cartel offences under the Enterprise Act 2002 (the“Act”). This is a historic move for the OFT as it uses its powers under the Act for the first time since the Act came (...)

A Danish Court inflicts a criminal sanction to a company director and fines mobile phone dealers for fixing prices and transport costs following transmission of the case from the NCA (Telemobilia - Aircom Erhverv - Jokerprice)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
On 27 November 2007 the Danish District Court of Roskilde found that the mobile phone distributor Telemobilia ApS (“Telemobilia”), and its director had fixed prices with two other mobile phone distributors (Aircom Erhverv and Jokerprice). The court imposed a fine of DKK 125,000 (EUR 17,000) on (...)

The UK OFT imposes its highest ever fine and applies leniency in the course of civil and criminal law proceedings (British Airways)
Sanoma
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Clayton Utz (Sydney)
The United Kingdom’s Office of Fair Trading (OFT) recently confirmed that it had been investigating price coordination between British Airways plc (BA) and Virgin Atlantic plc (Virgin) in relation to long haul passenger and cargo businesses and flights to and from the UK. The OFT investigated (...)

The Irish Competition Authority settles price-fixing proceedings in the health insurance sector (Irish Medical Organisation - IMO)
London School of Economics
Background The facts of this action have been set out in detail in a previuous e-Competitions Bulletin. Therefore, they will only be briefly called in this contribution. The Irish Medical Organisation (‘IMO’) is an association of undertakings that represents some 2,000 General Practitioners in (...)

The French Competition Council makes use of criminal proceedings to heavely sanction major anticompetitive practices in the course of public tendering (Ile-de-France secondary schools public works)
WTG Events
French Competition Council (Conseil de la concurrence), 9 May 2007, Decision n° 07-D-15, relating to practices implemented in public works of secondary schools in the Ile-de-France region (relative à des pratiques mises en œuvre dans les marchés publics relatifs aux lycées d’Ile-de-France) This (...)

The Hungarian Competition Office condemns price fixing and bid rigging for public tenders in the construction sector and for the first time opens criminal proceedings (Bau Art)
Gide Loyrette Nouel
Background Hétszínvirág Institution for the Education of Handicapped Children (Institution) issued a public tender in 2005 for extension and reconstruction works. As a result of a dispute between the successful bidder and the Institution, a new public tender was published for the same (...)

An Irish criminal court finds guilty a businessman involved in illegal prices fixing (Manning)
Arendt & Medernach (Luxembourg)
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Arendt & Medernach (Luxembourg)
Irish Central Criminal Court, February 9th, 2007, Director of Public Prosecutions v. Denis Manning, not published Under Irish competition law certain offences (in essence infringements analogous to infringements of Articles 81 and 82 EC) attract criminal sanctions. Last February saw the (...)

The Italian antitrust authority, after an investigative coordination with a criminal court, imposed EUR 3.7 million fines to antiseptic and disinfectant product distributors for infringement of Art. 81 EC (Prodotti disinfettanti)
Studio Legale DDPV
The Italian Antitrust Authority (Autorità Garante della Concorreza e del Mercato, the “Authority”) has fined producers and distributors of disinfectant and antiseptic products (Astrazeneca S.p.A., Bergamon S.r.l., B. Braun Milano S.p.A., Esoform S.p.A., Farmec S.r.l., Nuova Farmec S.r.l., Germo (...)

The Irish Public Prosecutor brings criminal charges against a businessman alleged to have taken part in a price fixing agreement (IFDA-Ford)
Baker Botts (Brussels)
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Constantine Cannon (Washington)
Facts On 19 April 2006, the Director of Public Prosecutions for Ireland brought criminal charges against a businessman alleged to have aided members of the IFDA (Irish Ford Dealers Association) in fixing the prices of Ford vehicles on the Irish market. Few details have emerged concerning the (...)

A French Court overturned criminal sentences on the grounds that the undertakings did not play a decisive role and that the collusion did not produce a significant effect (AP-HP)
Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel (Paris)
In France, infractions of the rules on public procurement constitute the competition violations most frequently penalised both by the competition authorities and by the criminal judge. In the case examined, the incriminated behaviour was, however, somewhat different to the collusion usually (...)

The French Supreme Court upholds the judgment of the Paris Court of Appeal condemning the manager of a company to a € 7,500 fine for having refused to supply a distributor who was reselling its products at prices that were, in its view, too low (Claude Brasero)
UGGC Avocats (Paris)
Description of the impugned case This case involves an indirect RPM system applied in the context of a distribution agreement. The company Rockwood Isolation sent a letter to one of its distributor informing that latter that it was unacceptable that the distributor sold some of the supplier’s (...)

The French Supreme Court upholds the judgment of the Paris Court of Appeal condemning the legal representative of two companies to a € 1,500 fine for having imposed a minimum resale price to its distributors (Nicolas Maincent)
UGGC Avocats (Paris)
Description of the impugned case This case involves an indirect RPM system applied in the context of selective distribution agreements. The companies Estée Lauder and Clinique imposed to their selected distributors, a minimum resale price of the products, through a complex system combining (...)

The Paris Court of appeal confirms fines for resale price maintenance in the electronic games sector (Virgin Loisirs)
Hewlett Packard (Boulogne-Billancourt)
Description of the impugned case Virgin Loisirs imposed minimum resale prices to its wholesalers on its products (electronic games), by circulating recommended prices and applying commercial retaliation measures (interruption of deliveries) if those distributors refused to apply its price (...)

The Paris Court of Appeal confirms fines against the chairman of a company for having imposed a minimum resale price of a product (Herpin)
Terre Azur (Pomona Group)
Description of the impugned case Before the criminal court, an action was introduced in order to condemn the resale price maintenance imposed by a supplier to its clients. Indeed, the investigation showed that the supplier indicated in its general commercials conditions a minimum resale price (...)

The French Criminal Supreme Court rules on the first implementations of Art. L. 420-6 C. com. (PFG - Funeral Services of Avignon)
WTG Events
Despite the de-penalization of anticompetitive practices, acknowledged by many authors, and implemented by the Order of 1st December 1986, Article L. 420-6 of the French commercial code (the FCC) still states that: « If any natural person fraudulently takes a personal and decisive part in the (...)

The French Versailles Court of Appeal confirms fines, independently of anticompetitive practice, against the chairman of a company having imposed a minimum resale price of a product (Hinningen & Ste Fravillex)
Terre Azur (Pomona Group)
Description of the impugned case The investigation showed that the supplier imposed to some of its clients a minimum ratio on price and threatened of retaliations measures in a case of non respect of it. Moreover, a strict control was also insured directly by the supplier in order to check the (...)

Dominance

The EFTA Court sanctions for abuse of dominant position a company active in the market for business-to consumer parcel services with over-the-counter delivery addressing the issue of judicial review (Posten Norge)
Jones Day (Paris)
A lesson on judicial review from the other European Court in Luxembourg* Legal change sometimes takes unpredictable paths: mid-April, something important happened for European law in Luxembourg, but this did not come from the European Court of Justice (the “ECJ”). Not every reader of this blog (...)

The Lithuanian Constitutional Court rules on the first Art. 82 EC case on alleged excessive fuel prices (Mažeikiu nafta II)
Lithuanian Competition Council
Just when everybody thought that Mažeikiu nafta II - the first Article 82 EC case in Lithuania - could be put to rest for at least another two years, it was brought back to life as, on 31 January 2007, the Constitutional Court issued a ruling refusing to accept a reference from the Vilnius (...)

The French Criminal Supreme Court confirms criminal sanctions against the CEO of a national copyright-management society for excessive fees (X / SACEM)
WTG Events
Despite the de-penalization of anticompetitive practices, acknowledged by many authors, and implemented by the Order of 1st December 1986 (the Order), Article L. 420-6 of the French commercial code (the FCC) still states that : “If any natural person fraudulently takes a personal and decisive (...)

The Paris Court of appeal confirms the fine imposed to the chairman of a company responsible for implementing minimum resale price (Herpin)
Terre Azur (Pomona Group)
Description of the impugned case An action was introduced before the criminal court against a company and its Chairman for having tried to impose fixed reselling prices to its customers on the basis of art. L. 442-5 of French commercial code. Indeed, the investigation showed that the supplier (...)

Mergers

The Danish Competition and Consumer Authority requests criminal indictment for withholding in a merger assessment (METRO)
Gorrissen Federspiel (Copenhagen)
METRO Cash & Carry risks fine in Danish merger case* The Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (DCCA) has reported METRO Cash & Carry (METRO) to the State Prosecutor for Serious Economic and International Crime for failing to submit relevant information regarding a notified merger. (...)

The Irish Parliament Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation debates on amendments proposed with a view to adopting the Competition and Consumer Protection Bill 2014
McCann FitzGerald (Dublin)
If it Ain’t Broke, Fix it: Ireland’s Competition Law, Version 2014* It took five years to draft. But now everything’s go!-go!-go! First published late spring 2014, Ireland’s newest competition law reform could be adopted by July. And though planning was long and time for debate is now short, last (...)

The US DOJ reaffirms the significance of pre-existing documents in HSR merger review (Hyosung)
WilmerHale (Washington)
,
WilmerHale (Washington)
,
Kirkland & Ellis (Washington)
Department of Justice to Merging Parties: Altering 4(c) Documents May Land You in Jail* A senior executive of a Korean manufacturer of Automated Teller Machines recently agreed to serve a five-month prison sentence in the United States for tampering with business documents during the (...)

The US DoJ announces that an executive of a South Korean company agreed to plead guilty to obstruction of justice charges and to serve five months in prison for altering documents filed with the DOJ and the FTC in connection with a proposed merger
Sheppard Mullin (Washington)
,
Sheppard Mullin (Washington)
Tampering With Documents In Connection With Hart-Scott-Rodino Merger Submissions Can Land You In Jail!* One does not usually associate the possibility of criminal penalties with the Hart-Scott-Rodino Act premerger review process. However, on May 3, 2012, the U.S. Department of Justice ("DOJ") (...)

The U.S. DOJ prosecutes obstruction of justice by a South Korean executive in merger investigation (Hyosung Corporation)
Jones Day (Washington)
,
Jones Day (Washington)
,
A plea agreement entered into last week with the U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division (DOJ) provides a sobering reminder of the serious consequence of obstruction of justice, and highlights the fact that such obstruction issues can arise even in connection with seemingly routine merger (...)

The US DoJ obtains guilty plea for obstruction of justice engaged through false documents submission in connection with a merger investigation in the automated teller machine (ATM) industry (Nautilus Hyosung)
Wolters Kluwer (Riverwoods)
Submission of Altered Documents in Merger Review Leads to Criminal Charges* Automated teller machine maker Nautilus Hyosung Holdings Inc. has been charged with obstruction of justice for submitting false documents to the government in its attempt to obtain U.S.antitrust approval of its (...)

Procedures

Antitrust Law and Criminal Law in Italy
University of Catania
1. The regulatory framework In Italy, besides the EC Treaty dispositions and the regulations enacted by the European Community, the normative tools of protection of competition are mainly provided by law 10 April 1990, n° 287 (hereinafter “Law n° 287/90”), which introduces “rules for the (...)

Irish criminal competition sanctions: An overview
London School of Economics
Background The basic Irish domestic competition law provisions mirror Articles 81 and 82 of the EC treaty. Since the coming into force of Regulation 1/2003, the “modernisation regulation”, Articles 81 and 82 EC, as well as the domestic competition provisions which replicate them, are applied by (...)

The Finnish Competition Authority and the Ministry of Employment and the Economy examine a report on the desirability of introducing criminal sanctions for cartel activities
Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA)
Report on the Criminalisation of Cartels was Presented to Stakeholders* Yesterday, the Ministry of Employment and the Economy (MEE) and the Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA) organised at the House of the Estates an expert seminar presenting the report on extending personal (...)

A Canadian Court of Appeal dismisses an appeal against extradition to the USA for a trial on bid-rigging, fraud, conspiracy and kick-back charges (Bennett)
Affleck Greene McMurtry
US Obtains First Ever Extradition from Canada on Antitrust Charges* Canadian businessman John Bennett will be extradited to the US face bid-rigging, fraud, conspiracy, and kick-back charges, the BC Court of Appeal held recently. The charges stem from a bid by the company he founded, Bennett (...)

The US DoJ announces its successfully litigated extradition on an antitrust charge against a participant in a conspiracy to suppress and eliminate competition by rigging bids, fixing prices and allocating market shares for sales of marine hose sold worldwide (Marine Hose)
Primerio
From DOJ: First-Ever Pure Antitrust Extradition* In what may well affect African and other international price-fixers going forward, the spectre of U.S. extradition for criminal antitrust charges has been reinforced by the recent successful DOJ extradition request in the “Marine Hose” cartel. (...)

The Canadian Superior Court allows the enforcement of the letters rogatory issued by a US District Court to obtain evidence as regards an allegation of price-fixing of foam (Neuwirth / DeCosta)
Affleck Greene McMurtry
Criminal Investigations and Cross Border Litigation Not A Bar to US Depositions* The Superior Court of Ontario recently granted an application for the enforcement of letters rogatory to take evidence of, and compel the production of documents by, two non- party Ontario residents in a (...)

The Supreme Court of Canada rules that investigators cannot search personal electronic items without a warrant providing them with an express authorization (R. / Vu)
Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg (Toronto)
,
Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg (Montréal)
The Supreme Court of Canada: A Computer is Not a Cupboard* When investigating cartel violations in Canada, the Competition Bureau’s tool of choice is the “search and seizure” (the Canadian equivalent of the “dawn raid” in Europe). The Bureau execises its search and seizure powers pursuant to (...)

The English Court of Appeal requires French defendants to comply with disclosure orders despite the French "blocking statute" (Secretary of State for Health / Servier Laboratories)
White & Case (London)
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JPTT & Partners
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White & Case (London)
The existence in several countries of “blocking statutes”, which prohibit the provision of economic information to foreign authorities or courts (or require prior authorization to be obtained before doing so), present a challenge to those managing international litigation and (...)

The Canadian Competition Bureau seeks input on its new draft inquiries bulletin
Steve Szentesi Law Corporation
New Competition Bureau Inquiries Bulletin & New Commissioner Remarks* Earlier today (3 October 2013) the Competition Bureau published for public consultation a new draft Inquiries Bulletin. Canada’s new Commissioner of Competition, John Pecman, also outlined some of the Bureau’s priorities (...)

The Estonian Parliament amends its competition act
European Commission
Estonia: Competition Act amended* On 15 July 2013, amendments to the Competition Act came into force. The main changes concern the administrative procedure. The first set of amendments concern the decisions adopted by the Competition Authority pursuant to Article 5 of Regulation 1/2003. The (...)

The Canadian Competition Bureau launches the "Whistleblowing Initiative" in order to encourage the general public and the business community to report suspected violations of the Competition Act
Steve Szentesi Law Corporation
New Competition Act Whistleblowers Page* Given the recently increased focus on criminal competition law matters (e.g., cartels) and whistleblowing, the latter in the competition law world and corporate crime area generally, I thought I would launch a new whistleblowing page on the blog. A (...)

The Danish Parliament adopts a law introducing criminal sanctions with imprisonment for serious cartel infringements
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
Introduction of imprisonment in cartel cases in the Danish Competition Act* On 1st March 2013, a new Danish Competition Act (Consolidated Act No. 23 of 17 January 2013) came into force. It amended the legal framework for sanctions as follows: Imprisonment for up to 18 months for (...)

The Danish Competition and Consumer Authority proposes introduction of imprisonment and significantly higher fines for competition law infringements
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 26 October 2012, the Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (“DCCA”) put forward a proposal for revising the Danish Competition Act and the Danish Penal Code. The changes are primarily aimed at introducing the possibility of imprisonment for infringements of Article 101 TFEU and the (...)

A NY District Court authorizes disclosure of portions of the grand jury testimony of two witnesses who had testified during the criminal investigation in the consolidated civil antitrust cases challenging alleged collusion in air cargo charges (Air Cargo Shipping Services)
Jones Day (Washington)
,
Jones Day (Cleveland)
The U.S. magistrate judge in the consolidated civil antitrust cases challenging alleged collusion in air cargo charges has authorized disclosure of portions of the grand jury testimony of two witnesses who had testified during the criminal investigation conducted earlier by the U.S. Department (...)

The Hellenic Competition Commission fines undertakings for obstructing dawn raids (Kaplanidis Mills and Association of Greek Flour Industries)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 14 June 2012, the Hellenic Competition Commission (“HCC”) announced that it has fined Kaplanidis Mills S.A. and the Association of Greek Flour Industries for obstructing on-site inspections carried out on the basis of suspicions of anticompetitive behaviour in the flour and grain sector. (...)

The Quebec Court of Appeal upholds constitutionality of search and seizure pursuant to Canada’s Competition Act (Express Transaction Services)
Canadian International Joint Commission
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Canadian International Joint Commission
Introduction On 13 June 2012 the Quebec Court of Appeal (the “Court of Appeal”) confirmed, in Express Transaction Services Inc v Canada (Attorney General) , the legality of a search conducted by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (the “RCMP”) pursuant to an investigation into alleged fraud under (...)

The Irish Parliament examines a new competition bill
European Commission
Ireland: New Competition Bill before Parliament* A Bill which will make significant amendments to Irish competition law is now making its way through Parliament. The Bill is in its final stages of being passed by the Parliament and is expected to become law before the Summer. The Competition (...)

A Canadian Court of Appeal challenges over potentially defamatory language in website press release posting (TPG Technology Consulting Ltd and Donald Powell v Canada)
Canadian International Joint Commission
Introduction The Ontario Court of Appeal (the "court") said Canada’s Competition Bureau (the "Bureau"), which assists the Commissioner of Competition in the administration and enforcement of the Competition Act (the "Act"), used potentially defamatory language in a 2009 press release website (...)

The Irish Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation publishes a new competition bill to strengthen competition law enforcement ("The Competition (Amendment) Bill 2011")
University of East Anglia - CCP (Norwich)
Article published on Centre for Competition Policy blog. Will IMF Requirement that Ireland Strengthen Competition Law Sanctions Actually Make a Difference?* The Republic of Ireland is facing the most serious economic crisis in its history. In order to deal with its sovereign debt crisis, it (...)

The French Criminal Supreme Court takes side in favour of the admissibility of the appeal by the Rapporteur général of the Competition Authority in a case concerning emails seizure (Orange)
Linklaters (Paris)
House searches carried out by the French competition authority (“Autorité de la concurrence”), a shared prerogative since 2009 with the Ministry of Finance & Economy (“DGCCRF”), are in principle governed by the Code of Criminal procedure. Furthermore, it has been held by the Supreme Court in (...)

The UK Government consults on wide-ranging reforms to the competition regime, including a proposal to merge the Office of Fair Trading and the Competition Commission into a single competition and markets authority
Wiggin (London)
I. Background On 14 October 2010, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (“BIS”) announced the intention to bring together the Competition Commission (“CC”) and the competition functions of the Office of Fair Trading (“OFT”) to form a single Competition and Markets Authority (“CMA”). BIS (...)

The French Criminal Supreme Court rules that illegally obtained evidences cannot be used before the Competition Authority (Phillips and Sony)
Université Aix-Marseille
I. The Issues at Hand In France, the competition authority (Autorité de la concurrence that used to be known as the Conseil de la concurrence) is in charge of ruling cases of anticompetitive practices. Even though it is not technically a court, one can appeal its decisions before the Appeal (...)

The Austrian Supreme Court holds that records from competition proceedings cannot be withheld from the public prosecutor in a following criminal proceeding on the grounds of protecting trade secrets pursuant to the anti-cartel Act (Elevator cartel case)
Salzburg University
Background: Following on from the elevator cartel case («Aufzugskartell»), in which the involved undertakings were fined 25 million Euros for breaching Art 81 ECT (Art 101 TFEU), the public prosecutor («Staatsanwaltschaft Wien») brought proceedings against a number of involved persons pursuant to (...)

The Slovakian Parliament extends the scope of application of the leniency program to criminal proceedings
European Commission
Slovakia: Leniency extended to Criminal Enforcement On 27 April 2010, the National Council of the Slovak Republic (Slovak Parliament) approved an amendment to the Criminal Code of the Slovak Republic, which extends the scope of application of the current leniency programme to criminal (...)

The English High Court rejects an appeal brought by a former CEO against an order to extradite him to the United States (Ian Norris)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 15 May 2009, the English High Court rejected an appeal brought by Ian Norris, the former chief executive of Morgan Crucible plc against an order to extradite him to the United States to face charges of obstructing the course of an antitrust investigation conducted by the US Department of (...)

The UK Office of Fair Trading publishes revised leniency guidance for businesses and individuals that come forward with information about their involvement in a cartel (Leniency and no-action: OFT’s guidance note on the handling of applications)
European Commission - DG COMP
Introduction In December 2008, the UK Office of Fair Trading (“OFT”) published revised guidance (“the Guidance”) for undertakings and individuals that are contemplating applying for leniency in cartel cases , which sets out the OFT’s position on a number of important leniency-related issues. (...)

The UK Court of Appeal’s judgment in the Marine Hoses cartel shows the interplay between UK criminal investigation and US plea agreement (Whittle, Allison and Brammar)
UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) (London)
The Marine Hoses Cartel has been a test case on several grounds: parallel and coordinated dawn raids by the European Commission, the OFT and the US DoJ; first criminal prosecution to be brought under the new Criminal Cartel Offence in the UK; use of DVD covertly recording of a cartel meeting (...)

The UK OFT issues first criminal conviction under the Enterprise Act 2002 following successful OFT / DOJ cooperation (Marine Hoses Cartel)
The HR Suite
1. Summary On 11 June 2008, three UK businessmen were the first to be criminally convicted under the Enterprise Act 2002, since it came into force in 2003. After an eleven month investigation by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT), in cooperation with the US Department of Justice (DOJ), the men (...)

The French Commercial Supreme Court rules that the NCA may not rely on unfairly obtained recordings as evidence (Sony France and Philips France)
Vogel & Vogel
A small consumer electronics discount retailer brought an action before the Competition Council against some of its suppliers for vertical agreements made with their respective distributors. In support of the action, the retailer produced tapes containing the recordings of phone conversations (...)

The UK OFT proposes payments to whistle-blowers in leniency proceedings
Kingsley Napley (London)
,
GQ Employment Law
,
Linklaters (London)
The United Kingdom Office of Fair Trading recently announced details of a ‘payment to informants’ scheme aimed at uncovering and taking action against cartel activity. The OFT is one of the first anti-trust regulators to introduce such reward payments. It remains to be seen whether other Member (...)

The French Supreme Court acknowledges the boundaries of the transmission of information between criminal courts and the national competition authority (Colas Ile-de-France Normandie)
WTG Events
I - Background Article L. 463-5 of the Commercial Code creates the possibility for the Competition Council to request documents closely linked to the facts referred to it and belonging to another national authority. The decision under examination is the last in this case and upholds the (...)

The Luxembourg Administrative Tribunal rules on the prohibition of self-incrimination in cartel investigation procedures
MOYSE BLESER law firm
,
Herbert Smith Freehills
I. Introduction On 15 November 2007, the Luxembourg administrative tribunal (Tribunal administratif) (“Tribunal”) rejected an action for annulment (hereinafter the “Action”) filed against a decision adopted by the Competition Inspectorate (Inspection de la concurrence) (“Inspectorate”), by virtue (...)

The UK Office of Fair Trading inflicts a record penalty of € 175 M - highest penalty ever imposed - for price fixing over long-haul surcharges following criminal and civil investigations (British Airways)
WTG Events
Office of Fair Trading, August 1st 2007, British Airways PLC , not yet published OFT Press Release, August 1st2007, n° 113/07, British Airways to pay record £121.5m penalty in price fixing investigation British Airways PLC (“BA”) has been hit with a £121.5 mln (€174.40 mln) fine by the Office of (...)

The OFT uses for the first time home search powers for a criminal investigation into a suspected cartel (Marine Hoses Cartel)
Sanoma
,
Clayton Utz (Sydney)
Introduction On 3 May 2007, the Office of Fair Trading (“OFT”), the National Competition Authority in the UK, carried out a number of on-site searches as part of a criminal investigation into a suspected cartel in the market for marine hoses. These searches were reportedly carried out at two (...)

The French Competition Council sets the boundaries of the transmission of information from a criminal Court (Le Foll)
WTG Events
French Competition Council (Conseil de la Concurrence), 15 December 2005, Decision n° 05-D-69, relating to anticompetitive practices set up in the Seine-Maritime road work sector (relative à des pratiques anticoncurrentielles relevées dans le secteur des travaux routiers en Seine-Maritime) Paris (...)

The French Criminal Supreme Court confirms the criminal sanction inflicted to a company for prices below-cost practices in the domestic gas distribution sector (Pétrovex)
Université Aix-Marseille
French Criminal Supreme Court (Cour de cassation, chambre criminelle), 6 December 2006, Société Pétrovex, Decision n° 06-81947, relating to restrictive practices in domestic oil distribution sector Douai Court of appeal (Cour d’appel de Douai, 6ème chambre correctionnelle), 12 janvier 2006, Société (...)

A Swedish committee issues a report paving the way to reform of the Competition Act (Legal Review Committee 2006 Report)
Swedish Competition Authority (Stockholm)
A Committee was set up in 2004 by the Swedish Government to review and propose amendments to the Swedish Competition Act. The Committee issued its report of more than 700 pages on 29 November 2006. The Committee’s overall conclusion is that the current system functions relatively well. (...)

The French Criminal Supreme Court rules that company reselling products bought from its own branch can be convicted of below-cost price reselling (Décathlon)
Université Aix-Marseille
French Criminal Supreme Court (Cour de cassation, Chambre criminelle), 22 November 2006, SA Décathlon The law that prohibits below-cost price in France is very plainly stated in the French Commercial Code (Article L.442-2) and defines the act as “reselling ... a product below its effective cost. (...)

British Courts allow the US to seek extradition of a suspect on charges of price fixing and obstruction of justice (Ian Norris)
WTG Events
,
Brown Brothers Harriman (BBH) (Luxembourg)
1. The facts The US Department of Justice (DOJ) is increasingly willing to pursue criminal price-fixing cartels affecting US markets. The Ian Norris decision is a landmark decision for the reason that it is the first time the US is seeking the extradition of a foreigner for an antitrust crime. (...)

The French Competition Council implements the leniency procedure for the first time (Door manufacturing sector)
Simmons & Simmons (Paris)
,
Hewlett Packard (Boulogne-Billancourt)
French Competition Council (Conseil de la concurrence), 11 April 2006, Decision n° 06-D-09, regarding practices in the door manufacturing sector (relative à des pratiques mises en oeuvre dans le secteur de la fabrication des portes) On 11 April 2006, the French Competition Council (“Conseil de (...)

The French Competition Council further acknowledges the modalities governing the communication of documents from criminal Courts (Ile-de-France Public works)
WTG Events
French Competition Council (Conseil de la concurrence), 21 March 2006, Decision n° 06-D-07, relating to practises implemented in the civil engineering sector in the Ile-de-France region (relative à des pratiques mises en œuvre dans le secteur des travaux publics dans la région Ile-de-France) I - (...)

The Paris Court of appeal set the boundaries of the power of the Competition Council to refer a case to a criminal Court (STAL/Ernée Viandes)
WTG Events
French Competition Council (Conseil de la concurrence), 3 August 2004, Decision n° 04-D-39, relating to practices implemented in the butchering and the commercialisation of animals for human consumption sector (relative à des pratiques mises en œuvre dans les secteurs de l’abattage et de la (...)

The French Competition Council refers a hard-core cartel to the public prosecutor (“Ready-made concrete stairs”)
WTG Events
Decision of the Competition Council (Conseil de la concurrence), 3 March 2003, Decision n° 03-D-12, relating to the ready-made concrete stairs sector (“concernant le secteur des escaliers préfabriqués en béton”) Court of Appeal of Paris (Cour d’appel de Paris, 1ère Chambre, Section H), 25 November (...)

The US Supreme Court holds that the sentencing guidelines may no longer mandate judges to enhance sentences beyond the statutory maximum unless the predicate facts supporting such enhancements are first proved by a jury beyond a reasonable doubt, or admitted by defendant (Booker)
Steptoe & Johnson (Washington)
On January 12, 2005, the US Supreme Court handed down a pair of landmark decisions that could fundamentally shift the balance of power for corporations facing criminal antitrust investigations from the Department of Justice (“DOJ”). In United States v. Booker and United States v. Fanfan, the (...)

The French Competition Council refers a hard-core cartel case to the public prosecutor (Bakery sector in the Marne department)
WTG Events
French Competition Council (Conseil de la concurrence), 11 March 2004, Decision n° 04-D-07, relating to practices implemented in the bakery sector in the Marne department (relative à des pratiques relevées dans le secteur de la boulangerie dans le département de la Marne”) Court of Appeal of Paris (...)

The French Criminal Supreme Court upheld sentences inflicting prison, fines and damages for bid-rigging ("Isère tarmac")
Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel (Paris)
Supreme Court, Criminal Chamber, 16 may 2001, Cases n° 99-83467 and 97-80888 Grenoble Court of appeal, Criminal Chamber, 7 April 1999, A., C., De., Du., J., K., P. , Case n° 98/00334, Decision n° 431/99 (Part. I ; Part. II ; Part. III) Grenoble Criminal Court, 13 November 1997, 1st Chamber, A., (...)

A French criminal court imposed penalty to a professional organisation for practices aiming to limit access to the taxi sector (Georges C.)
Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel (Paris)
The French Competition Council has very frequently condemned the fixing of minimum or imposed tariffs by professional associations which are then communicated to members to be applied as a violation of competition rules. The banality of prices fixed by professional associations can be (...)

Regulations

The French Criminal Supreme Court rules that State authorized monopoly on horse betting is not an illegal anticompetitive practice (Gambling monopoly)
Université Aix-Marseille
Crime, State and free competition One may argue that most illegal activities conducted by criminal organization are mainly infringements over the monopoly of the State. Private Justice, illegal gambling, racketeering and drug-trafficking are behaviors that more or less mimic states practices (...)

The Estonian Supreme Court upholds the judgment of county court terminating the proceedings against State postal monopoly on misdemeanour charges on the grounds of an abuse of dominant position (Eesti Post)
Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer (Brussels)
The Estonian Competition Authority fined AS Eesti Postin expedite proceedings for an abuse of dominant position (unequal treatment, fidelity rebates). Eesti Post appealed the decision. On October 3, 2007, the Supreme Court decided to partially satisfy the cassation and declared the decision of (...)

Public sector

A Danish court imposes fines on two environmental laboratories and their directors for bid rigging (Environmental Laboratory and Milana)
Danish Competition and Consumer Authority (Copenhagen)
On 25 March 2011, a Danish District Court convicted two environmental laboratories for bid rigging and imposed fines of DKK 500,000 (approx. EUR 67,000) on each of the two companies and fines of DKK 25,000 (approx. EUR 3,400) on each of the two directors. I. Background Miljølaboratoriet I/S (...)

The French Competition Council refers a bid-rigging case "likely to be qualified as criminal" to the public prosecutor (Furiani stadium)
WTG Events
French Competition council (Conseil de la concurrence), 6 June 2006, Decision n° 06-D-13, relating to practices implemented in the frame of a public tendering concerning the reconstruction of the stadium Armand Cesari in Furiani (“relative à des pratiques mises en œuvre dans le cadre d’un marché (...)

The French criminal supreme court upholds sentences inflicting prison, fines and damages for bid-rigging ("Le Havre lighting")
Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel (Paris)
Supreme Court, Criminal Chamber, 22 October 2003, M. L., Case n° 02-83372 Court of appeal of Rouen, Criminal Chamber, 25 February 2002, J.-P. B. a. o., Case n° 01/00761, Decision n° 215 (Part. I ; Part. II) Criminal Court of Le Havre, 10 January 2001 In France, criminal prosecutions against the (...)

The French Criminal Supreme Court upheld sentences inflicting prison and damages for bid-rigging (Claude M.)
Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel (Paris)
Supreme Court, Criminal Chamber, 26 September 2001, Case n° 00-86438, Claude M., not published Grenoble Court of Appeal, Criminal Chamber, 6 juillet 2000, Paul C., Claude M., Sté Dauphinoise de Travaux (SDE Travaux) , Case n° 99/01022, ecision n° 1092 Criminal Court of Grenoble, 1st Chamber, 30 (...)

The French Competition Council refers a bid-rigging case to the public prosecutor ("Paris police headquarters")
WTG Events
French Competition Council (Conseil de la concurrence), 2 November 1994, Decision n° 94-D-57, relating to practices implemented in the frame of a public bid for the modernisation of the signalling of two headquarters of the police of Paris (“relative à des pratiques relevées à l’occasion d’un appel (...)

The French Competition Council refers for the first time a bid-rigging case to a criminal Court ("Bordeaux moving sector")
WTG Events
French Competition Council (Conseil de la concurrence), 15 March 1994, Decision n° 94-D-19, relating to the situation of competition in the moving sector of Bordeaux (“relative à la situation de la concurrence dans le secteur du déménagement à Bordeaux”) Court of appeal of Paris (Cour d’appel de (...)

The French Criminal Supreme Court rules on the first implementations of Art. L. 420-6 C. com. (PFG - Funeral Services of Avignon)
WTG Events
Despite the de-penalization of anticompetitive practices, acknowledged by many authors, and implemented by the Order of 1st December 1986, Article L. 420-6of the Commercial Code still states that: “If any natural person fraudulently takes a personal and decisive part in the conception, (...)

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