Whistleblowers & Antitrust

Foreword Whistleblowers & Antitrust: An overview of EU and national case law

First introduced in the United States in 1993, leniency programmes have, according to the OECD Competition Trends Report 2020, ‘grown rapidly… reaching 89 jurisdictions by 2017’. They have been declared a great success at detecting cartels. This foreword will walk the reader through a brief overview of the development of leniency policy in the European Union from 1996 to date. I do not intend to provide an analysis of US developments save to note it has recently enacted legislation to protect whistleblowers, recognising the value of their input. A browse through the Commission’s own records of cartel decisions illustrates graphically its policies in action. Cases burgeoned to such an extent that concerns were expressed that the Commission had become a victim of its own success and that the staff of DG Competition would not be able to handle the volume of cases. A few cases where whistleblowers uncovered a cartel will be mentioned in the latter part of this foreword. In the discussion of the context of damages actions, I will thereafter provide a review of some of the cases reviewed by the Court (General Court, European Court of Justice, High Court of England and Wales). The aim is to contextualise the leniency tool, as one of many in the European Commission’s toolbox for enforcement against what is considered to be the most egregious of competition law infringements.

Read more
Claire Harris Antitrust (Oxford)

General antitrust

The Portuguese Competition Authority introduces a new whistleblower tool with anonymous and encrypted communications
Portuguese Competition Authority (Lisbon)
The AdC has a new whistleblower tool with anonymous and encrypted communications* The AdC has a new whistleblower tool through which any person or company may report an anti-competitive practice detected during their professional activity. The new tool guarantees the protection of the (...)

The EU Parliament and Council adopt amendments to the Commission’s proposal for negotiating the final text of the Digital Markets Act
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
,
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 15 December 2021, the European Parliament (“Parliament”) adopted its position for negotiating the final text of the so-called Digital Markets Act (Regulation on contestable and fair markets in the digital sector)(“DMA”), shortly after the Council of the European Union (“Council”) had adopted its (...)

The UK Government publishes consultations on far-reaching reforms to competition and consumer laws which would substantially expand the powers of the Competition Authority and reduce procedural protections
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
,
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
,
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
The U.K. government is consulting on far-reaching reforms to U.K. competition and consumer laws, which would substantially expand the powers of the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) and reduce procedural protections. Key proposals include: Merger control jurisdiction enlarged: The CMA (...)

The German Parliament enters into force its 10th amendment to the Act against Restraints of Competition bringing significant adjustments regarding advancing digitalization, changes in merger control, as well as data access claims
Hogan Lovells (Munich)
,
Hogan Lovells (Munich)
On January 19, 2021, the amendment of the German Act against Restraints of Competition ("ARC") has entered into force. In addition to the significant adjustments to the ARC regarding advancing digitalization, changes in merger control as well as data access claims, to pick out just a few of the (...)

The US President signs into law the Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act which seeks to protect whistleblowers in criminal antitrust cases
Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson (New York)
,
Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson (New York)
,
Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson (Washington)
This article has been nominated for the 2021 Antitrust Writing Awards. Click here to learn more about the Antitrust Writing Awards. Having an Effective Antitrust Compliance Program Is More Important Than Ever* Over the past two decades, having robust compliance programs has become (...)

The US DoJ publishes a guidance on evaluation of corporate compliance programs for companies
Portolano Cavallo (Milan)
,
Portolano Cavallo (Milan)
Companies operating in multiple countries need compliance programs that take into account varying national requirements. In Italy, for example, the Supreme Court recently established that in addition to Italian companies, foreign companies are required to implement compliance programs (known (...)

The Chinese State Administration for Market Regulation issues three new sets of rules and regulations relating to monopoly agreements, abuse of dominant market positions and abuse of administrative power
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Beijing)
,
Noerr (Dusseldorf)
This article has been nominated for the 2020 Antitrust Writing Awards. Click here to learn more about the Antitrust Writing Awards. September 1, 2019 may be seen as a new starting point for the enforcement of China’s antitrust and competition laws. On this date, three new sets of rules and (...)

The US DoJ Antitrust Division publishes new policy that significantly enhances the importance of compliance programs
Crowell & Moring (Washington)
,
McDermott Will & Emery (New York)
,
McDermott Will & Emery (Washington)
THE LATEST: NEW DOJ ANTITRUST DIVISION POLICY MAKES COMPLIANCE PROGRAMS MORE CRITICAL THAN EVER* What Happened: Last week, the Antitrust Division reported that it has changed its Justice Manual to state that it will consider antitrust compliance at the charging stage in criminal antitrust (...)

The Canadian Competition Authority and the Public Prosecution Service revise immunity and leniency programs
Norton Rose Fulbright (Toronto)
Competition Bureau’s new “disclosure first” immunity and leniency programs take effect* Antitrust and competition On September 27 the Competition Bureau (the Bureau) and the Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC) launchedrevised immunity and leniency programs in relation to investigating (...)

The EU Commission adopts a new anonymous whistleblower tool
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission introduces new anonymous whistleblower tool* A new tool to make it easier for individuals to alert the Commission about secret cartels and other antitrust violations while maintaining their anonymity has been launched by the European Commission today. Individuals can now (...)

The EU Commission introduces a new tool to encourage individuals to disclose anticompetitive conduct on an anonymous basis
Jones Day (Brussels)
,
DLA Piper (London)
,
Jones Day (Brussels)
In Short The Situation: The European Commission has launched a new tool that will allow individuals to anonymously report anticompetitive conduct for the first time. The Impact: The Commission’s new access to anonymous inside information could increase the risk of exposure for companies (...)

The UK Parliament implements a regime issued from the Consumer Right Act extending the powers of the Competition Appeal Tribunal
Blackstone Chambers (London)
Private Actions: The CRA 2015 giveth; and the 2015 CAT Rules taketh away Introduction* Today, on the 1st October 2015, when we are supposed to be celebrating the brave new world of the Competition Act 1998 (“CA”) as amended by the Consumer Rights Act 2015 (“CRA”), cartelists and other competition (...)

Anticompetitive practices

The Spanish Competition Authority investigates possible anti-competitive practices in the food supply market to communities dependent on public bodies
Spanish Competition Authority (CNMC) (Madrid)
The CNMC investigates possible anti-competitive practices in the food supply market to communities dependent on public bodies* Such practices involve agreements for the tempering and allocation of tenders called in Spain. On 22 and 23 March, the CNMC carried out on-site inspections at the (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority imposes fines totalling €24M on 3 steel companies for disclosing information about prices, exchanging information about third party prices and sharing data on the technical shutdowns of their facilities (Balboa / Sidenor / ArcelorMittal)
Spanish Competition Authority (CNMC) (Madrid)
The CNMC fines three steel companies 24 million euros for two very serious infringements in the scrap purchase market in Spain* The companies disclosed information to one another regarding the prices they would offer to iron scrap suppliers. In addition, they shared data on the technical (...)

The Italian Competition Authority issues its decision concerning anti-competitive agreements among companies operating in the water meter market (Misuratori / Itron / Maddalena / Watertech)
Portolano Cavallo (Milan)
,
Portolano Cavallo (Milan)
,
Portolano Cavallo (Milan)
On February 1, 2022, the Italian Competition Authority (the “AGCM” or the “Authority”) issued its decision in case No. I835, opened in 2019, concerning anti-competitive agreements among companies operating in the water meter market (more information on the proceedings available here). The (...)

The Indian Government allows the Tax Department to share information with the Competition Authority, which proceeded to give leniency to two companies involved in cartel cases in the transport sector during the COVID-19 pandemic (Automotive Bearing / Railway Locomotive) Free
National University of Study and Research in Law (Ranchi)
,
AZB & Partners (Mumbai)
CCI joins forces with the Indian Tax Department: A new dawn for the Indian Fair-trade regulator?* The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic has worsened the already struggling Indian economy and the sky-high growth in the cartel cases in the country comes as no surprise. However, given the current (...)

The Indian Competition Authority refrains from imposing fines on four industrial and automotive bearings manufacturers for being part of a cartel (ABC Bearings / National Engineering Industries / Schaeffler / SKF / Tata Steel)
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
,
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
,
Lakshmikumaran & Sridharan (New Delhi)
Key Points The existence of an agreement between four industrial and automotive bearings manufacturers was established in relation to price revision as well as minimum percentage of price increase to be quoted to automotive and industrial Original Equipment Manufacturer (“OEM”) customers. The (...)

The US DoJ agrees to a civil settlement with an additional firm involved in a bid-rigging that targeted fuel supply contracts for military bases in South Korea (Jier Shin Korea / Sang Joo Lee)
US Department of Justice (Washington DC)
DOJ Agrees to Civil Settlement with Additional Firm Involved in Bid Rigging and Fraud Targeting Defense Department Fuel Supply Contracts for U.S. Military Bases in South Korea* South Korea-based company Jier Shin Korea Co. Ltd., and its president, Sang Joo Lee, have agreed to pay $2 million to (...)

The US DoJ announces its intention to continue to hold businesses accountable for per se criminal violations of antitrust laws during the COVID-19 pandemic Free
Proskauer (Washington)
,
Proskauer (London)
,
Proskauer (Washington)
As businesses across the globe grapple with the changing realities presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, U.S. and international antitrust enforcers have warned that business should continue to mind the antitrust laws. Global enforcers are also focusing on the role competition laws play as (...)

The US DoJ announces the creation of a Procurement Collusion Strike Force with implications for US companies and beyond
Baker McKenzie (Washington)
,
Baker McKenzie (Washington)
,
Baker McKenzie (Washington)
This article has been nominated for the 2020 Antitrust Writing Awards. Click here to learn more about the Antitrust Writing Awards. On November 5, 2019, the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the creation of a strike force, consisting of federal and state investigators and (...)

The Hellenic Competition Authority signs a protocol on cooperation with the Single Public Procurement Authority
University of Portsmouth
PROTOCOL ON COOPERATION BETWEEN THE GREEK COMPETITION AUTHORITY AND THE GREEK PUBLIC PROCUREMENT AUTHORITY* In October 2019, the Hellenic Competition Commission signed Protocol on Cooperation with the Hellenic Single Public Procurement Authority. Both agencies have agreed on the areas of joint (...)

The Australian Competition Authority starts applying an updated cartel immunity policy which requires a higher level of cooperation for leniency and introduces a new online portal for whistleblowers
King & Wood Mallesons (Sydney)
,
King & Wood Mallesons (Sydney)
This article has been nominated for the 2020 Antitrust Writing Awards. Click here to learn more about the Antitrust Writing Awards. From 1 October 2019, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) will apply an updated cartel immunity and cooperation policy, with the changes (...)

The EU Commission imposes fines totaling €31.6M on two companies for participating in a cartel in the canned vegetable sector (Coroos / CECAB)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission fines Coroos and Groupe CECAB €31.6 million for participating in canned vegetables cartel* The European Commission has fined Coroos and Groupe CECAB a total of € 31 647 000 for breaching EU antitrust rules. Bonduelle was not fined as it revealed the existence of the cartel (...)

The Romanian Competition Authority fines 13 tourism agencies and the National Associations of Tourism Agencies €2.4M for coordinating behavior (ANAT)
Romanian Competition Council (Bucharest)
The Competition Council sanctioned 13 tourism agencies and Anat with fines of €2,45 million* The Competition Council sanctioned 13 tourism agencies and the National Associations of Tourism Agencies (ANAT) with total fines of 11.419.539.35 Lei (approximately €2,45 million) for coordinating (...)

The US DoJ announces that three South Korean companies in the market of oil refiners and logistics agreed to plead guilty and to enter into a civil settlement for bid-rigging (SK Energy / GS Caltex / Hanjin Transportation)
Robert Connolly Law (Palm Springs)
DOD Bid Rigging Whistleblower and Related Antitrust Division Criminal Cases* Last week the Antitrust Division announced that three South Korean companies had agreed to plead guilty and to enter into civil settlements for rigging bids on United States Department of Defense Fuel Supply Contracts (...)

The Commercial Courts of Barcelona and Madrid render judgments in follow-on suits against a cartel in the envelopes market (Planeta / Misiones Salesianas / Bankoa...)
Callol, Coca & Asociados (Madrid)
,
Callol, Coca & Asociados (Madrid)
,
Callol, Coca & Asociados (Madrid)
Update on damages claims in Spain - paper envelope cartel damages recovery. Several rulings have been issued by Spanish lower courts shedding light on key aspects of antitrust damages claims, such as the treatment of evidence concerning the calculation of compensation for damages. Also the (...)

The Indian Competition Authority approves its first leniency application and reduces by 75% the fine imposed on the leniency applicant in a bid-rigging case in the railway sector (Pyramid Electronics / Kanwar Electricals / Western Electric and Trading Company)
Vaish Associates Advocates (New Delhi)
Competition Commission of India (CCI) decides its first application for leniency in Cartels* CCI by its order dated January 18, 2017 decided its first leniency application in favour of the applicant by reducing the fine imposed by 75%. The application was filed on 10 March 2015 by one of the (...)

The Brazilian Superior Court of Justice limits the confidentiality of the Brazilian Competition Authority’s leniency agreements (Εlectrolux)
Mattos Filho Veiga Filho Marrey Jr & Quiroga (New York)
,
Mattos Filho, Veiga Filho, Marrey Jr. & Quiroga (Sao Paulo)
,
Carrilho Donas Advocacia (Brasilia)
The Brazilian Superior Court of Justice (“STJ”) has issued a ruling that seeks to limit the confidentiality of leniency agreements entered into with the Brazilian antitrust authority (“CADE”). Pursuant to the ruling, third parties may have access to such agreements and related materials (including (...)

The French Competition Authority sanctions an anti-competitive agreement on dairy products sold under retailers’ private labels (Yoghurt cartel)
HeplerBroom (Saint Louis)
This article presents an analysis of the manner in which France’s Competition Authority built a case against France’s yogurt cartel, with a particular focus on the primary documents that proved the elements of the conspiracy. Changing creameries : A look inside France’s yogurt cartel In early (...)

The Irish Competition Authority revises its cartel immunity program
European Investment Bank (Luxembourg)
Introduction Given the immense social, economic and personal damage caused by the covering-up of crimes by Irish institutions, there is a remarkable reluctance in Irish society to provide systematic protection to whistle-blowers and persons willing to come forward to ensure offences are (...)

The Singapore Competition Authority fines four Japanese ball bearings manufacturers and their Singapore subsidiaries S$9.3M for an anticompetitive agreement (Ball and roller bearings manufacturers)
Rajah & Tann (Singapore)
,
,
Rajah & Tann (Singapore)
This article has been nominated for the 2016 Antitrust Writing Awards. Click here to learn more about the Antitrust Writing Awards. Introduction Happy New Year all! We start the year with a coverage of key developments in competition law in Singapore over the past year, and discuss the (...)

The Slovak National Council introduces a whistleblower program in the context of a substantial amendment of the competition act
Diwok Hermann Petsche (Baker McKenzie Vienna)
Introduction Slovakia introduced a Whistleblower Program with the effect from 1 July 2014. The program represents a new institute under Slovak law as previously competition law did not include any financial (or other) reward for whistleblowers. Slovak competition law applies only to (...)

The Canadian Competition Authority 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 (Vancouver)
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 Canadian Competition Authority publishes revised sets of the frequently asked questions related to its immunity and leniency programs
Steve Szentesi Law Corporation (Vancouver)
Competition Bureau Issues New Immunity and Leniency Program FAQs* The Competition Bureau has issued revised Immunity Program FAQs and Leniency Program FAQs (see: Competition Bureau Publishes Revised Immunity and Leniency FAQs). In making the announcement, relating to the first update to its (...)

The EU Court of Justice decides that a firm that has infringed Article 101 TFEU is unable to escape the imposition of a fine merely because the illegality of its conduct was erroneously assessed by its legal counsel (Schenker)
Lexing (Liège)
,
Liège University (Liège)
I. The Parties The Bundeswettbewerbsbehörde, the Federal Competition Authority in Austria. The Bundeskartellanwalt, the Federal Cartel Lawyer in Austria. Thirty-one undertakings, including inter alia Schenker & Co. AG (“Schenker”), members of the Spediteur-Sammelladungs-Konferenz (the (...)

The Canadian Commissioner of Competition announces the launch of the Bureau’s new Whistleblowing Initiative
Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg (Toronto)
Blowing the Whistle on Cartels in Canada* Cartel enforcement in Canada is heavily dependent on the use of informants. This is explained by two principal factors. First, cartel conduct is, by its very nature, secretive and carried out in the shadows of business life. Second, Canada’s Competition (...)

The Canadian Competition Authority introduces criminal cartel whistleblowing initiative
WeirFoulds (Toronto)
,
WeirFoulds (Toronto)
Hiding in Plain Sight: The Competition Bureau’s Criminal Cartel Whistleblowing Initiative* On May 28, 2013, Canada’s Commissioner of Competition, John Pecman, announced the launch of the Competition Bureau’s Criminal Cartel Whistleblowing Initiative (the “Initiative”), aimed at creating awareness (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority renders legally binding the commitments offered by a professional association in the market for expert reporting in occupational hazards (UICM)
European Commission - DG COMP (Brussels)
On 19 February 2013 the Spanish Competition Commission (“CNC”) adopted a resolution rendering legally binding the commitments offered by the Inter-Professional Union of the Community of Madrid (“UICM”) in order to alleviate the anti-competitive allegations raised against it. The CNC initiated its (...)

The Slovak Competition Authority proposes the introduction of a new section in the Act on Protection of Economic Competition law giving natural persons a financial incentive for whistleblowing
Braun (Prague)
Slovakia: Cash Incentives to Whistleblowers?* At the end of 2012 the Slovak Antimonopoly Office presented its future plans for public discussion. Various aspects such as the announced prioritisation of antitrust enforcement, the incentives for settlement of antitrust cases, the establishment (...)

The Chinese NDRC in Guandong investigates and sanctions a cartel in the local sea sand mining sector (Baohai / Jianghai / Donghai)
University of Melbourne
,
China Competition Bulletin (Beijing)
,
Institute of American Studies (Beijing)
The Guangdong Price Bureau, a local authority of the Price Supervision and Anti-Monopoly Bureau of NDRC, has recently investigated and sanctioned a cartel in the local sea sand mining sector pursuant to the AML. According to the NDRC’s news release, the price of land reclamation sand used in (...)

The UK Court of Appeal clarifies the meaning of the term “decision” in Section 47A of the Competition Act 1998 (Deutsche Bahn / Morgan Crucible)
Utrecht University
The Court of Appeal, in its decision in Deutsche Bahn AG and others v Morgan Crucible plc, has clarified the meaning of the term “decision” in section 47A of the Competition Act 1998 for the purpose of applying the limitation period for bringing follow-on action claims for damages in the (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority imposes fines totaling €23M on two cartels in the agricultural sector (ZON / UWG / Rainbow)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
According to a press release published by the Dutch Competition Authority (“NMa”) on 5 June 2012, the NMa has imposed fines totalling € 23 million on a number of pepper growers’ co- operatives and on five shallot growers and processors for their involvement in two separate cartel agreements. (...)

The EU General Court upholds a fine against a member of a cartel in an acrylic glass cartel appeal (Imperial Chemical Industries)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 5 June 2012, the General Court dismissed an appeal brought by Imperial Chemical Industries (“ICI”) against a Commission decision fining ICI € 91 million in connection with the acrylic glass (PMMA) cartel. In the May 2006 decision under appeal, the Commission found that, between 1997 and (...)

The Italian Competition Authority fines three operators in the Southern Italian electric market for undertaking a concerted practice aimed at sharing the market for certain dispatch services (Repower Italy Dispatch Price)
Economisti Associati (Bologna)
,
Law & Economics LAB (Rome)
Three electricity generators active in the Southern Italian area - Repower Italia S.p.A., EGL Italia S.p.A. and Tirreno Power S.p.A. - have been sanctioned by the Autorità Garante della Concorrenza e del Mercato (Italian Competition Authority - ICA) for undertaking a concerted practice in (...)

The US District Court for the Northern District of California returns verdicts in the rare price-fixing trial of global liquid-crystal displays conspiracy (AU Optronics)
Jones Day (Brussels)
,
Jones Day (Shanghai)
,
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 Swiss Competition Authority fines leading camera manufacturer for the restrictions on parallel imports of the company’s imaging products (Nikon)
Agon Partners (Zurich)
,
IXAR (Zurich)
I. Summary The Swiss Competition Commission (COMCO) fines Nikon AG a total of 12.5 million CHF because of restrictions on parallel imports of Nikon imaging products. II. Case 1. Parties Nikon AG, Switzerland («Defendant«). The Nikon Group organizes its sales in Europe through its own offices (...)

The EU General Court annuls fine in the Dutch beer cartel case, ruling that the evidence available to the EU Commission was not sufficient to establish the parent company’s liability for its subsidiary’s participation in the cartel (Grolsch)
Google (London)
The Dutch Beer Cases: The Value of Whistleblower Statements and the Cutback of Fines in Case of Unreasonably Long Commission Investigations* The General Court has rendered a series of judgments in the Dutch Beer Cartel case that involve a number of legal issues, including in Grolsch v. (...)

The EU General Court reduces fines in the Dutch beer cartel case finding that the Commission did not prove all infringements had been committed and that the duration of the procedure was excessive (Heineken)
Google (London)
The Dutch Beer Cases: The Value of Whistleblower Statements and the Cutback of Fines in Case of Unreasonably Long Commission Investigations* The General Court has rendered a series of judgments in the Dutch Beer Cartel case that involve a number of legal issues, including in Grolsch v. (...)

The EU General Court reduces fines in Dutch beer cartel case finding that the Commission did not prove all infringements and that the duration of the procedure was excessive (Bavaria)
Google (London)
The Dutch Beer Cases: The Value of Whistleblower Statements and the Cutback of Fines in Case of Unreasonably Long Commission Investigations* The General Court has rendered a series of judgments in the Dutch Beer Cartel case that involve a number of legal issues, including in Grolsch v. (...)

The US Senate introduces a Bill that would make permanent provisions of the ACPERA granting reduced civil liability to successful leniency applicants
Sheppard Mullin (San Francisco)
Bill Introduced To Secure Reduced Civil Liability For Amnesty Applicants* Three U.S. senators have introduced a bill that would make permanent provisions of the Antitrust Criminal Penalties Enforcement and Reform Act of 2004 (ACPERA) granting reduced civil liability to companies who (...)

The UK Competition Authority issues statement of objections against two airlines (Cathay Pacific Airways / Virgin Atlantic)
European Commission (Brussels)
United Kingdom: The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) issues Statement of Objections against Cathay Pacific Airways and Virgin Atlantic* On 22 April 2010, the Office of Fair Trading issued a Statement of Objections alleging that Cathay Pacific Airways and Virgin Atlantic infringed competition law (...)

The Portuguese Competition Authority imposes fines totaling €14.7M on five undertakings implicated in the Canteen Cartel and uses the leniency regime for the first time (Eurest / Trivalor / Uniself / ICA / Nordigal...)
DLA Piper (Lisbon)
,
Vieira de Almeida (Lisbon)
On 30 December 2009 the Portuguese Competition Authority (PCA) imposed total fines € 14,720 million on five mass catering undertakings active in the market for meals and refectory, canteen and restaurant management/operating services for anti-competitive practices. This case amounts to the first (...)

The Austrian Supreme Court confirms €1.9 million fine imposed on industrial chemicals wholesale cartel (Donau Chemie / Donauchem)
European Court of Justice (Luxembourg)
1. Introduction and background By judgment of 25 March 2009 in Case 16 Ok 4/09, the Austrian Supreme Court in competition matters (Oberster Gerichtshof als Rekursgericht in Kartellrechtssachen) confirmed a judgment of 24 October 2008 (Case 29 Kt 132, 133/07-54) of the Vienna High Court in (...)

The Austrian Cartel Court imposes fines of €1.9 million on a company member of a cartel affecting the supply of industrial chemicals (Donau Chemie / Donauchem)
Reidlinger Schatzmann Rechtsanwälte (Vienna)
,
OBB (Vienna)
On 5 November 2008 the Austrian Cartel Court has imposed a fine of € 1.9 million on Donau Chemie AG and Donauchem GmbH, both part of the Donau Chemie Group, for their participation in a cartel affecting the supply of industrial chemicals. Further to that, the Cartel Court rejected the (...)

The French Competition Authority applies leniency for the third time and fines six manufacturers for price-fixing in the plywood sector (Plywood cartel)
Hewlett Packard (Boulogne-Billancourt)
Summary of the Decision Further to a leniency application and an investigation involving dawn raids and seizures, the French Competition Council (the "Council") fined six manufacturers active in the exotic plywood sector (Etablissements Mathé, Etablissements Guy Joubert, Etablissement Allin, (...)

The Belgian Competition Authority fines participants of a hardcore cartel in the chemical industry a record total fine of € 500,000 and grants leniency (Bayer / Solutia Europe / Ferro Europe / Polynt)
Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton (Brussels)
,
Lexxion Publisher (Berlin)
Background The product concerned was BBP (butyl benzyl phthalate), a chemical which is mostly used in the production of PVC products. The cartel culminated in scheduled meetings where the participants, the three main producers of BBP in Belgium and a distributor colluded by price fixing, (...)

The UK Competition Authority announces financial incentives for information regarding cartel activity
Linklaters (London)
,
Linklaters (London)
,
Linklaters (London)
The OFT published details today of ground-breaking plans to offer rewards of up to £100,000 for the provision of information on cartel activity. The OFT is one of the first anti-trust regulators to introduce such reward payments, and the move marks a further escalation of the OFT’s (...)

The French Competition Authority applies for the second time leniency and highlights discrepancy with EC competition law on concerted practices’ burden of proof (Removals cartel)
Lenoir Avocats (Paris)
,
Eversheds Sutherland (Paris)
,
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe (Paris)
Summary of the decision Following an investigation with dawn raids and seizures initiated further to a leniency application, the French Competition Council has sanctioned a horizontal cartel between twelve companies in the sector of national and international removals to and from France, (...)

The UK High Court rules that restitution damages are not an available remedy in antitrust cases, nor will an account of a defendant’s profits be appropriate (Devenish / Sanofi-Aventis)
Stevens & Bolton (London)
Background The present case involves "follow on" claims for compensation in respect of damage suffered as a result of the vitamins cartel, which was famously subject to a Commission decision in 2001. The Commission found that notwithstanding the number of producers involved in eight distinct (...)

The French Competition Authority accepts commitments but fines two companies for having entered into an agreement in the sector of laundry cleaning and renting (Elis / Initial BTB)
French Competition Authority (Paris)
Press Release published on the official website of the French Competition Authority. Agreement in the sector of laundry cleaning and renting fined up to 18 million euros: The Conseil de la concurrence accepts innovative commitments from the sector’s two leaders - Elis and Initial BTB – who will (...)

The Italian Competition Authority grants a member of a cartel total immunity for the first time under the new Leniency Notice (Produttori di pannelli truciolari in legno)
Giannino SI (Monserrato)
On 17 May 2007 the Italian Competition Authority (ICA) fined eight firms for carrying out a cartel from January 2004 to November 2005 through which they allocated market shares and fixed prices in the market for chipboard panels. Four of the fined firms belonged to the Saviola group (Sacie (...)

The Japan Fair Trade Commission issues cease and desist orders and imposes surcharges on participants in bidding for floodgate projects (Japan Water Agency)
Japan Fair Trade Commission (Tokyo)
The JFTC issued cease and desist orders, surcharge payment orders to bidders for floodgate projects procured by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, the Japan Water Agency and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and other directions to the procurement agencies. * (...)

The Finnish Competition Authority grants for the first time immunity from fines for a cartel whistleblower (Arwidson / HL Group / Koivunen)
Dittmar & Indrenius (Helsinki)
,
Krogerus (Helsinki)
The Finnish Competition Authority (“FCA”) has for the first time granted immunity from fines to a cartel member who, according to the Finnish leniency programme provisions, had come forward and revealed an alleged cartel on the Finnish vehicle spare parts wholesale market (the so-called (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit holds that US Courts have authority under the FTAIA to award damages for price-fixing in an action brought by foreign buyers and sellers (Kruman)
Hughes Hubbard & Reed (Washington)
The twenty years since the enactment of the Federal Trade Antitrust Improvements Act (the FTAIA) in 1982 have seen steady progress in the cooperation of antitrust authorities worldwide. Prior to the FTAIA’s passage, the US’s extraterritorial application of its antitrust laws created international (...)

Procedures

The US Congress passes the Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act aimed at protecting whistleblowers
U.S. Department of Energy (Washington)
,
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius (Washington)
,
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius (Washington)
The US Congress passed S.2258, the Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act of 2019, on December 8 and presented the bill to the president on December 11 – almost a year-and-a-half after Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) introduced the bill in the Senate. The bill follows recommendations from a 2011 (...)

The US Congress passes federal protections for whistleblowers who report criminal antitrust violations
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius (Washington)
,
Morgan Lewis (Boston)
,
Morgan Lewis (Silicon Valley)
The Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act establishes new federal protections for whistleblowers who report violations of antitrust laws. This may impact enforcement efforts and litigation on labor mobility issues, including no-poaching and wage-fixing agreements. Companies can prepare for (...)

The Chinese State Administration for Market Regulation publishes anti-monopoly guidelines on leniency and commitments
Jones Day (Shanghai)
,
Jones Day (Beijing)
,
Jones Day (Beijing)
The Anti-Monopoly Bureau of China’s State Administration for Market Regulation (“SAMR”) released four sets of long-awaited anti-monopoly guidelines. This White Paper addresses the Guidelines on Application of Leniency Program in Horizontal Monopoly Agreement Cases and the Guidelines on (...)

The Chinese State Administration for Market Regulation breaks new ground with book for antitrust guidelines
Hogan Lovells (Beijing)
,
Hogan Lovells (Hong Kong)
,
Hogan Lovells (Shanghai)
On 6 August 2020, the lid was lifted on one of China’s biggest antitrust secrets. On that day, news broke out that a new book authored by the State Administration for Market Regulation ("SAMR") featuring a compilation of antitrust rules had been launched. The compilation contains four previously (...)

The Egyptian Competition Authority publishes guidelines for obtaining amnesty or leniency from criminal prosecution for antitrust cartel violations
White & Case (Washington)
,
White & Case (Washington)
,
White & Case (Cairo)
The Egyptian Competition Authority recently published the first Egyptian guidelines on the process for obtaining amnesty or leniency from criminal prosecution for antitrust cartel violations, signaling the agency’s intent to activate this tool in future enforcement activities. The guidelines (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority publishes antitrust compliance programme guidelines
Callol, Coca & Asociados (Madrid)
,
Callol, Coca & Asociados (Madrid)
,
Callol, Coca & Asociados (Madrid)
The National Competition and Markets Commission (CNMC) has published a guide on competition law compliance programs (Guide). The Guide draws on two legal developments: (i) the prohibition of contracting with public administrations in the case of companies found guilty of infringing the Spanish (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority confirms the final version of the guide on competition compliance programs as a mitigating factor and means of avoiding public procurement bans
Herbert Smith Freehills (Madrid)
,
Gold Abocados
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (Madrid)
The Spanish National Markets and Competition Commission (“CNMC”) has confirmed in the final version of the Guide on compliance programmes in relation to competition rules (the “Guide”) that compliance programmes could potentially modulate the penalties imposed on companies investigated for (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority publishes a guide on compliance programmes in relation to antitrust laws
Spanish Competition Authority (CNMC) (Madrid)
The CNMC publishes a guide on compliance programmes in relation to anti- trust laws* It contains the criteria that the CNMC would take into consideration when analysing the effectiveness of a compliance programme. It includes the consolidated principles used by other competition authorities to (...)

The Spanish Competition Authority launches an online hotline for reporting anti-competitive practices and making competition law inquiries related to practices adopted due to the COVID-19 outbreak Free
Herbert Smith Freehills (Madrid)
,
Gold Abocados
,
Herbert Smith Freehills (Madrid)
The CNMC bolsters its online whistleblowing hotline to pursue anticompetitive conduct in any sector, although with a special interest in the medical equipment, funeral and cremation services sectors. An enquiries platform is also launched so that operators can make competition law enquiries to (...)

The Brazilian Competition Authority considers using a new economics test with Moran’s I statistic to detect collusive behavior between competitors bidding in public procurement auctions
Vinicius Marques de Carvalho Advogados (VMCA) (Sao Paulo)
New cartel screening tool may enhance investigations by CADE* A new working paper published by the authority explores the possibility of applying statistics to public procurement auctions. CADE’s Department of Economic Studies (DEE) released, in December, a working paper discussing the (...)

The Indonesian Competition Authority publishes its regulation in the procedure for cases of monopolistic practices and unfair competition
Baker McKenzie (Jakarta)
,
Baker McKenzie (Jakarta)
In mid-April 2019 the Business Competition Supervisory Commission (Indonesian acronym: KPPU) published its Regulation No.1 of 2019 on the Procedure for Cases of Monopolistic Practices and Unfair Competition (Regulation No.1 of 2019), replacing KPPU Regulation No. 1 of 2010 of the same name. (...)

The US Congress passes antitrust whistleblower protection act
Robert Connolly Law (Palm Springs)
Should There Be an Antitrust Whistleblower Statute?* On July 22cd, the Senate passed the Criminal Antitrust Anti-Retaliation Act of 2015. The bill now goes to the House for consideration. If signed into law the Act will create for the first time whistleblower protections for employees who (...)

The US Congress passes a bill that would protect employees who report suspected criminal antitrust activity to their employer or the federal government from workplace retaliation
Wolters Kluwer (Riverwoods)
Antitrust Whistleblowers Get Another Shot at Federal Protection from Retaliation by Employers* A bill is advancing through the U.S. Senate that would protect employees who report suspected criminal antitrust activity to their employer or the federal government from workplace retaliation. The (...)

The EU Court of Justice upholds the Commission’s first withdrawal of immunity for cartel whistleblower but finds the General Court failed to timely adjudicate (Deltafina / FLS Plast)
Jones Day (Brussels)
The European Court of Justice has upheld a €30 million fine against cartel whistleblower Deltafina, which was imposed following the withdrawal of Deltafina’s conditional immunity as a result of the breach of its duty to cooperate under the European Commission’s leniency program. This ruling (...)

The UK Supreme Court rules in relation to a follow-on claim for civil damages that any appeal against the finding of infringement by any other addressee is irrelevant to a non-appealing addressee (Deutsche Bahn / Morgan Advanced Materials)
King’s College (London)
Deutsche Bahn AG and others (Respondents) v Morgan Advanced Materials Plc (formerly Morgan Crucible Co Plc) (Appellant)* The Facts Morgan Advanced Materials Plc (‘Morgan’) participated in an illegal cartel in the sector of electrical and mechanical carbon and graphite products. Morgan, as (...)

The EU Commission Vice President Almunia delivers remarks on the development of cartel enforcement in the EU
Steve Szentesi Law Corporation (Vancouver)
Cartel Enforcement: In Europe, Like Canada, Cat & Mouse Game: Interesting Remarks by EU Competition Head Almunia* Earlier today (3 April 2014) I read remarks delivered by European Commission competition head Joaquin Almunia in Brussels on the topic of cartel enforcement (see: Fighting (...)

The EU institutions reach compromise on EU Directive on private damage actions
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
,
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
,
Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (Brussels)
EU Institutions Reach Compromise on EU Directive on Private Damage Actions* On March 18, 2014, representatives of the European Commission (the Commission), the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union reached a compromise in relation to key provisions of the proposed EU (...)

The German Competition Authority publishes a report on its activities in 2011 and 2012
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Bundeskartellamt`s Activity Report 2011/2012* Today, the President of the Bundeskartellamt, Andreas Mundt, presented the authority’s report on its activities in 2011 and 2012: ""In the past two years we have continued to enhance our cartel prosecution activities. In numerous sectors, this has (...)

The Canadian Competition Bureau releases action plan on transparency
Journal of Parliamentary and Political Law (Ottawa)
Introduction Canada’s Competition Bureau (the “Bureau”), an independent law enforcement agency that assists the commissioner of competition in the administration and enforcement of the Competition Act, released its Action Plan on Transparency (the “Plan”) on 28 May 2013. According to the (...)

The Canadian Competition Authority 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 (Vancouver)
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 EU General Court refuses access asked by a whistleblower to leniency documents submitted by co-cartellists in a Commission consumer detergent cartel case for the whistleblower to defend itself in a related national authority case (Henkel)
Simmons & Simmons (London)
The pitfalls associated with a co cartellist seeking leniency documents submitted in a European Commission case to defend itself in a related national authority case. In brief Henkel, the whistleblower in the European Commission consumer detergent cartel, has failed in its attempt to use the (...)

The Slovak Competition Authority initiates public discussion on the amendments to the national competition act
Agency for the Cooperation of Energy Regulators (ACER) (Ljubljana)
,
Wolf Theiss (Bratislava)
,
Dagital Legal (Bratislava)
Factual background As a follow-up to the release by the Slovak Anti-Monopoly Office (the “AMO”) of information on the planned amendment of the Slovak Competition Act (the “Act”), the AMO recently initiated public discussion on the amendment. The declared purpose of the amendment is to better link (...)

The EU Parliament publishes an independent study voicing support for EU legislation on antitrust damages actions (Lear’s Report)
Court of First Instance of Namur (Namur)
An independent report commissioned by the European Parliament (“EP”) and published on 12 June 2012 has expressed strong support for plans for EU-level regulation aimed at encouraging the initiation of damages claims by consumers and small companies who wish to seek redress for harm caused (...)

The EU General Court confirms that leniency documents produced under the Commission’s leniency program are not exempt from disclosure in civil actions (Energie Baden-Württemberg)
Morgan Lewis (London)
,
Squire Patton Boggs (London)
A recent ruling from the EU General Court ("General Court") in EnBW Energie Baden-Württemberg AG v Commission confirms that leniency documents produced under the European Commission’s ("Commission") leniency program are not exempt from disclosure in civil actions in the EU. Earlier this year, the (...)

The UK Government consults on changes to assist private litigants in seeking redress for breach of antitrust law
Covington & Burling (London)
The UK Government is consulting on changes to assist private litigants in seeking redress for breach of antitrust law. Most radically, the government has proposed introducing an opt-out collective redress mechanism. This change alone could significantly increase the volume and impact of (...)

The UK High Court grants disclosure of documents obtained by access to the EU Commission’s file in a follow-on damages action in the switchgear cartel (GIS)
Modo (Brussels)
In its judgment of 4 July 2011 the English High Court of Justice granted the application for disclosure of documents obtained by access to the Commission’s file in a follow-on damages action for breach of Article 101 TFEU in the Gas Insulated Switchgear (“GIS”) cartel. However, considering the (...)

The US DoJ Assistant Attorney General Christine Varney announces closer antitrust cooperation between the US and Chinese enforcement agencies
McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
,
McDermott Will & Emery (Washington)
This article has been nominated for the 2012 Antitrust Writing Awards. Click here to learn more about the Antitrust Writing Awards. On June 24, 2011, Assistant Attorney General Christine Varney announced that the U.S. antitrust enforcement agencies will be signing a cooperation agreement with (...)

The UK OFT proposes changes to Director Disqualification Guidelines
Linklaters (London)
Overview On 18 August 2009, the OFT published a consultation draft of proposed changes to its guidance on director disqualification orders in competition law cases. The OFT Senior Director of Policy commented with release of the draft revised guidance that “we know that the prospect of being (...)

The UK OFT ramps up company directors’ responsibility for competition law compliance
DLA Piper (London)
,
Sidley Austin (Brussels)
On 18 August 2009, the UK Office of Fair Trading (OFT) published a consultation on significant proposed changes to its guidance on the adoption of competition disqualification orders (CDOs) against company directors. The OFT’s proposed changes present a significantly more aggressive approach in (...)

The UK Competition Authority proposes payments to whistle-blowers in leniency proceedings
Mishcon de Reya (London)
,
GQ Employment Law (London)
,
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 UK High Court rules that exemplary damages are not available to claimants bringing actions against cartellists that have already been fined by the EU Commission, even if their fine has been commuted due to an immunity or leniency application (Devenish Nutrition / Sanofi-Aventis)
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (London)
Exemplary damages are not available to claimants bringing actions against cartelists that have already been fined by the European Commission, even if their fine has been commuted due to an immunity or leniency application. Similarly, restitutionary relief or an account of profits are most (...)

The Spanish Congress passes a new competition act
Hogan Lovells (Madrid)
The Spanish Congress passed on 14 June 2007 a long awaited new Competition Law that will enter into force on 1 September 2007 ("the New Competition Act"). The new Law modernizes the Spanish Competition system by introducing significant changes, at both institutional and substantive levels. As (...)

The Spanish Government lays a new competition bill before the Parliament (2006 Proyecto de ley de defensa de la competencia)
European Commission (Brussels)
,
Garrigues (Brussels)
On 25 August 2006, the Spanish Government finally laid the long-awaited Bill for a new Spanish Competition Act (the “Bill” ) before the Lower House of Parliament for approval. The Bill is the cornerstone for the modernisation of the Spanish antitrust system. It is expected to enter into force by (...)

The French Competition Council specifies the scope and the mechanism of its anti-cartel leniency programme by simultaneously issuing its first leniency decision and publishing a procedural leniency notice (Door manufacturing cartel / France Portes)
US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) (Washington)
On 11 April 2006, the French Competition Council (“CC” or “the Council”) issued simultaneously its first ever formal decision in a leniency application procedure and a notice on the French leniency programme. The case at stake involved ten wooden-door producers that have operated two cartel (...)

The French Competition Authority implements the leniency procedure for the first time (Door manufacturing cartel / France Portes)
Simmons & Simmons (Paris)
,
Hewlett Packard (Boulogne-Billancourt)
On 11 April 2006, the French Competition Council (“Conseil de la concurrence”) published a decision condemning door manufacturers active in two cartels. In this case, for the first time, the Conseil de la concurrence applied the leniency procedure for cartel whistleblowers. The leniency (...)

The US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit holds that American courts have authority to hear antitrust claims brought by foreign plaintiffs against foreign defendants over foreign conduct (Hoffman-LaRoche / Empagran)
Hughes Hubbard & Reed (Washington)
The twenty years since the enactment of the Federal Trade Antitrust Improvements Act (the FTAIA) in 1982 have seen steady progress in the cooperation of antitrust authorities worldwide. Prior to the FTAIA’s passage, the US’s extraterritorial application of its antitrust laws created international (...)

All issues

  • Latest News issue 
  • All News issues
  • Latest Special issue 
  • All Special issues