ASEAN Antitrust: The Future of Competition Law and Policy in the ASEAN Countries - Press Reports

Reports by Freny Patel, PaRR (c)

Leniency complements compliance but could lead to story-telling, lawyer says

• Authorities cannot afford to be complacent
• Raids seen as more important tool than leniency program

Leniency is an important tool for complementing a compliance structure, but both antitrust lawyers and authorities are increasingly wary of how it could be misused by cartelists.

The downsides of a leniency program are substantial, particularly when subsequent leniency applicants can be offered substantial reductions in penalties, said Börries Ahrens, a partner at White & Case in Hamburg. That can be a huge incentive for “telling stories, finding stuff that is not really there”, which he said had happened "many, many times”. In many jurisdictions, the size of reductions in penalties not only depended on the order in which firms came forward but also on the added value of the information shared, he added.

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