Utilities & Cartels

Anticompetitive practices

The Australian Competition Authority announces that it will bring civil proceedings against a company and its director for alleged cartel conduct (Delta Building Automation / Timothy Davis)
Bird & Bird (Sydney)
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Bird & Bird (Sydney)
The ACCC has recently announced that it will bring civil proceedings against an Australian company and its director for alleged cartel conduct. According to ACCC’s press release, the conduct related to a 2019 tender for the replacement of a smart building management system at the National (...)

The Hungarian Competition Authority fines thirteen undertakings involved in a cartel in the electricity sector
Hungarian Competition Authority (Budapest)
The GVH has eliminated a cartel on the electricity market* The Hungarian Competition Authority (GVH) imposed a fine of approximately HUF 130 million in total on the 13 undertakings which shared tenders among each other in relation to the design, construction, and operation of electricity (...)

The Danish High Court founds that the agreement fixing the price of subscriptions concluded by a natural gas company had an anticompetitive intent and breached the Competition Act (Hovedstadsregionens og Midt-Nords Naturgasselskab I/S)
Bird & Bird (Copenhagen)
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Bird & Bird (Copenhagen)
The Danish High Court has affirmed that Article 6(1) of the Danish Competition Act (corresponding to Article 101(1) TFEU), was infringed by a natural gas company, Hovedstadsregionens og Midt-Nords Naturgasselskab I/S (“HMN”), the trade association and two subcontractors, as these parties entered (...)

The EU Court of Justice confirms the scope of liability for investors in companies involved in cartels (Goldman Sachs)
Ashurst (Brussels)
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Ashurst (London)
On 27 January 2021, the Court of Justice of the European Union ("the Court") upheld the €37.3 million fine imposed on Goldman Sachs as a result of the involvement of portfolio company Prysmian in the power cables cartel. The ruling has held that in the circumstances of this case, Goldman Sachs, (...)

The EU Court of Justice confirms that private equity sponsors can be held financially liable for competition law infringements committed by indirectly managed portfolio companies (Goldman Sachs)
Matheson (Dublin)
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Matheson (Dublin)
Key takeaways On 27 January 2021, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) issued its judgment in Goldman Sachs Group Inc. v European Commission (GS judgment) which confirms that PE sponsors can be held financially liable for competition law infringements committed by indirectly (...)

The EU Court of Justice confirms that a parent company is jointly liable for the conduct of a former subsidiary involved in a cartel in the high-voltage power cable sector (Goldman Sachs)
White & Case (Brussels)
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White & Case (Brussels)
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White & Case (London)
The European Court of Justice (the "ECJ") has confirmed the EU General Court’s (and the European Commission’s) finding that Goldman Sachs was jointly liable for the conduct of a former subsidiary, Prysmian, which the Commission fined for its involvement in the high voltage power cables cartel (...)

The EU Court of Justice confirms the liability of a parent company for the conduct of its subsidiaries involved in a cartel (Goldman Sachs)
Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
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Herbert Smith Freehills (Brussels)
On 27 January 2021, the Court of Justice of the EU (CJEU) dismissed in its entirety an appeal brought by the Goldman Sachs Group (Goldman Sachs) against a General Court ruling which confirmed Goldman Sachs’ joint and several liability in the 2014 power cables cartel (judgment here). The CJEU (...)

The EU Court of Justice declares that financial investors are liable for anti-competitive conduct of portfolio companies (Goldman Sachs)
Dechert (Paris)
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Dechert (Paris)
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Dechert (Paris)
The European Court of Justice has confirmed that financial investors can incur parental liability for the anticompetitive practices of portfolio companies, even after an IPO that left the investor holding only a minority stake in the company, provided that they still have sufficient (...)

The EU Court of Justice provides guidance on end date of bid-rigging cartels (Eltel)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 14 January 2021, the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) handed down a judgment on a reference for a preliminary ruling from the Finnish Supreme Administrative Court (“FSAC”), in which it provides guidance on the duration of a company’s participation in a bid-rigging infringement. According to the (...)

The EU Court of Justice confirms that a bid-rigging infringement ends when the essential characteristics of the contract are concluded with the contracting authority (Eltel)
Bird & Bird (Helsinki)
On 14 January 2021, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) issued a preliminary ruling relating to a Finnish bid-rigging case stating that a bid-rigging infringement ends on the day the essential characteristics of the contract, in particular the price, are concluded with the (...)

The EU Court of Justice rules that the duration of an infringement in the case of bid-rigging ends once the essential characteristics of the public tender are determined (Eltel)
Covington & Burling (Brussels)
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Covington & Burling (London)
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Covington & Burling (Brussels)
Introduction In its preliminary ruling of 14 January 2021, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) clarified that the duration of an infringement in the case of bid rigging ends once the essential characteristics of the public tender are determined – which in practice likely means at (...)

The EU Court of Justice decides that participation in a bid-rigging cartel ends when the basic characteristics of the contract between the parties are determined (Eltel)
Taylor Wessing (Prague)
When Is Participation In A Bid-Rigging Cartel Deemed To Have Ceased To Exist?* On 14 January 2021, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) confirmed that participation in a bid-rigging cartel ends when the basic characteristics of the contract between the “successful” tenderer and the (...)

The EU Court of Justice dismisses manufacturing company’s appeal against the fine imposed for the power cable cartel (Prysmian)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 24 September 2020, the Court of Justice (“ECJ”) rejected the Italian power-cable manufacturer Prysmi- an’s appeal against the € 104.6 million fine imposed on it by the Commission in 2014 for its involvement in the Power Cables cartel case. The ECJ upheld the earlier ruling by the General Court (...)

The EU Court of Justice rejects power cables appeal on dawn raid powers and successor liability and fines the company €104.6 million for taking part in an international cartel (Prysmian)
Ashurst (London)
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Ashurst (Brussels)
On 24 September 2020, the European Court of Justice ("ECJ") fully dismissed an appeal brought by Prysmian, therefore upholding the European Commission’s ("Commission") decision to fine Prysmian EUR 104.6 million for taking part in an international power-cable cartel. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW - KEY (...)

The EU Court of Justice rules on dawn raids, in particular on storing of data without prior selection, which is then examined in the offices of the Commission (Nexans)
Callol, Coca & Asociados (Madrid)
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Callol, Coca & Asociados (Madrid)
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Callol, Coca & Asociados (Madrid)
The CJEU ruled on the European Commission’s powers of inspections in cartel proceedings, in particular, regarding the power to copy data without a prior examination. On 2009, the Commission’s inspectors, accompanied by representatives of the French competition authority, visited the premises of (...)

The EU Court of Justice upholds the Commission’s right to continue inspection at Brussels premises in Power Cables cartel case (Nexans)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
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Zepos & Yannopoulos (Athens)
On 16 July 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union (the “ECJ”) delivered a judgment dismissing the appeal by Nexans France and its parent company Nexans (together “Nexans”) against the judgment of the General Court of the European Union (the “GC”) in the Power Cables cartel case. By way of (...)

The EU Court of Justice partially annuls the General Court power cables cartel decision and reduces the fine imposed by €200,000 (NKT)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 14 May 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union (the “Court of Justice”) partly set aside a judgment of the General Court dismissing the action brought by NKT Verwaltungs GmbH (formerly nkt cables GmbH) and NKT A/S (formerly NKT Holding A/S) (together, “NKT”) in the Power Cables cartel (...)

The EU Court of Justice partially quashes the General Court’s decision and reduces the fines on eleven producers of high voltage power cables for their participation in a global market-sharing cartel (NKT)
Ashurst (Brussels)
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Ashurst (Brussels)
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Ashurst (Brussels)
On 14 May 2020, the European Court of Justice (the "ECJ") partially quashed the General Court’s (the "GC") judgment upholding the European Commission’s ("Commission") power cables cartel decision with respect to NKT and its wholly owned subsidiary NKT Verwaltungs (together "NKT" or the (...)

The Dutch Competition Authority opens investigation into possible buyer cartel involving reusable waste products and conducts dawn raids in the sector (Waste buyers cartel)
Netherlands Authority for Consumers & Markets (The Hague)
ACM conducts investigation into possible buyer cartel involving reusable waste products* The Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) is conducting an investigation into a possible buyer cartel involving certain reusable waste products. As part of this investigation, ACM conducted (...)

The Mexican Competition Authority closes probe for possible collusion in the market for watt-hour meters and emphasises opportunities for improvement in the public procurement processes
Mexican Competition Authority (Mexico City)
COFECE CLOSES PROBE FOR POSSIBLE COLLUSION IN MARKET FOR WATT- HOUR METERS AND EMPHASIZES OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT IN PUBLIC PROCUREMENT PROCESSES* The Federal Economic Competition Commission’s (COFECE or Commission) Board of Commissioners resolved to decree the closure of the (...)

The EU Court of Justice dismisses an appeal seeking to set aside an earlier judgement by the General Court sanctioning a cartel of manufacturers of power cables (Verwaltungs)
Ashurst (London)
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Ashurst (Brussels)
On 14 November 2019, the European Court of Justice ("ECJ") dismissed the appeal in case C-599/18 P brought by Silec Cable ("Silec"), which sought to set aside an earlier judgment by the General Court upholding the European Commission’s ("Commission") power cables decision. WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW (...)

The UK Court of Appeal clarifies principles governing competition damages and reiterates that judges must base their decisions on the evidence before them by exclusively focusing on the loss of the claimant (BritNed / ABB)
Case Associates (London)
The Court of Appeal in BritNed v ABB [2019] EWCA Civ 1840 has again had to clarify the principles governing competition damages. It reaffirmed the English High Court’s rejection of the claimant’s approach to damages but took issue with the trial judge’s position that damages should err on the side (...)

The UK Court of Appeal hands down a follow-on damages claim against a power cable cartel member (BritNed / ABB)
Bird & Bird (Amsterdam)
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Bird & Bird (London)
On 31 October 2019, the Court of Appeal of England and Wales ("Court") handed down a significant judgment in relation to BritNed’s follow-on damages claim against a power cable cartel member, ABB. The Court allowed ABB’s cross-appeal in relation to cartel savings, finding that the High Court of (...)

The Croatian Competition Authority fines companies for price fixing cartel in the sewage treatment market (Daska / Krtolin / Jole / Garma-promet / Kula)
Croatian Competition Agency (Zagreb)
Price fixing cartel in the sewage treatment market – CCA imposes fines* The Croatian Competition Agency detected a prohibited agreement – cartel between five undertakings in the Šibenik region who fixed the price in the provision of pumping out, transportation and disposal of human waste from (...)

The Rotterdam District Court annuls a fine imposed by the Dutch Competition Authority on a manufacturer of batteries for forklift trucks for its involvement in a cartel (Midac)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 20 June 2019, the Rotterdam District Court (“Court”) annulled a fine of € 583,000 imposed by the Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets (“Autoriteit Consument & Markt” or “ACM”) on Midac, a manufacturer of batteries for forklift trucks, for its involvement in a cartel. The Court held that (...)

The Hungarian Competition Authority fines five companies for bid rigging in the solar panel installing market (Solar Panel cartel)
Bird & Bird (Budapest)
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Bird & Bird (Budapest)
The Hungarian Competition Authority ("GVH") unveiled a bid rigging cartel and imposed the maximum fines statutorily possible on the five solar panel installing companies involved. In the frame of the EU funded Environment and Energy Operative Program ("KEOP") published by the Ministry of (...)

The Indian Competition Authority exonerates parties from allegations of cartelization despite having admitting coordination in the flashlight market (Eveready / Panasonic / Indo National / Geep / AIDCM)
Vaish Associates Advocates (New Delhi)
CCI holds that mere information exchange by itself is not anti-competitive, in spite of leniency applications filed* The Competition Commission of India (”CCI”) by way of an order dated November 6, 2018 has exonerated Eveready Industries India Limited (“Eveready”), Panasonic Energy India Co. Ltd. (...)

The UK High Court of Justice rejects methodology for estimating overcharges on cables based on economic evidence (BritNed / ABB)
The Brattle Group (London)
ABSTRACT In the first cartel overcharge claim brought in the English High Court, the claimant’s methodology for estimating ABB overcharges on the BritNed cable was comprehensively rejected. The Court concluded that the claimant’s econometric analysis was insufficiently grounded in facts and (...)

The UK High Court delivers its first follow-on cartel damages case judgment in the electricity interconnected cable market (ABB / BritNed)
Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (London)
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Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer (London)
The High Court has delivered its decision in the claim brought by BritNed Development Limited (BritNed) against ABB AB and ABB Ltd (together ABB). The case is significant as it is the first cartel damages claim to reach final judgment in the English courts. BritNed alleged that it suffered (...)

The UK High Court of Justice rejects econometrics analysis in a cartel damage case for being too complex (BritNed / ABB)
Case Associates (London)
BritNed Development Ltd v. ABB AB and ABB Ltd [2018] EWHC 2616 (Ch). (“BritNed”) is the first English cartel damage judgment and the first to consider an econometric approach to calculating overcharges. The court rejected the claimant’s econometric analysis as ‘too complex’ and “unspecific”. Here (...)

The EU General Court holds that institutional investors can face parental liability for infringement of EU competition law (Power Cables cartel)
White & Case (Brussels)
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White & Case (Brussels)
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White & Case (Brussels)
On 12 July 2018, the EU’s General Court handed down 12 judgments relating to the power cables case. Among these was a judgment which confirmed that a parent company able to exercise all the voting rights in a subsidiary is presumed liable for any infringement of the EU competition rules by that (...)

The Hong Kong Competition Authority publishes a guide regarding a competition ordinance for the public sector
Hong Kong Competition Commission
Competition Commission Publishes Handy Guide to Competition Ordinance for Public Sector* The Competition Commission (Commission) today (11 May) published a handy “Guide to Competition Ordinance” (Guide) for the public sector to assist personnel from the government, public bodies and law (...)

The Indian Competition Authority grants penalty reductions to 4 out of 6 members of a cartel guilty of bid-rigging public tenders for setting up solid waste processing plants (Nagrik Chetna Manch / Fortified Security Solutions)
Vaish Associates Advocates (New Delhi)
CCI passes its third leniency decision* The CCI by way of an order dated May 1, 2018 has issued its third leniency order in the case of Nagrik Chetna Manch v. Fortified Security Solutions and Ors. (Case 50 of 2015) in which it granted reduction in penalty to four out of the six leniency (...)

The Indian Competition Authority fines battery manufacturers for cartel after a 6-year investigation including 2 leniency applications (Eveready Industries India / Indo National / Panasonic Energy India / Association of Indian Dry Cell Manufacturer)
Vaish Associates Advocates (New Delhi)
CCI Penalizes Batter Manufacturers’ Admitted Cartel - Decised Its Second Leniency Case* Competition Commission of India (CCI) by an order dated 19 April 2018, in its second decision on a leniency application, has awarded a 100 (One Hundred) per cent reduction in penalty to the leniency (...)

The EU Commission fines eight producers of capacitors for cartel (Elna / Hitachi Chemical / Holy Stone / Matsuo / NEC Tokin / Nichicon / Nippon Chemi-Con / Rubycon)
DG COMP (Brussels)
Antitrust: Commission fines eight producers of capacitors €254 million for participating in cartel* The European Commission has fined Elna, Hitachi Chemical, Holy Stone, Matsuo, NEC Tokin, Nichicon, Nippon Chemi-Con, Rubycon € 253 935 000. Together with the immunity applicant, Sanyo, they (...)

The EU Commission fines €546 million two maritime car carriers and four car parts suppliers in three separate cartel settlements (MOL / NYK / "K" Line / Wwl-Eukor / Csav / Denso / Bosch / NGK / TRW / Continental)
Gómez-Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
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Gómez-Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
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Gómez-Acebo & Pombo (Brussels)
Four maritime car carriers, two suppliers of spark plugs and two suppliers of braking systems have been fined EUR 395 million, EUR 76 million and EUR 75 million respectively, in the framework of three separate cartel settlement decisions adopted by the European Commission. With regard to the (...)

The Romanian Competition Authority sanctions with €1.1 million 3 companies selling equipment for electricity measurement (Arc Braşov)
Romanian Competition Council (Bucharest)
1) The Competition Council sanctioned with €1.1 million 3 companies selling equipment for electricity measurement* The Competition Council sanctioned with fines totalling lei 4,947,086.23 (about Euros 1.1 million) three companies for the purpose of reaching an agreement in order to limit the (...)

The Russian Competition Authority opens a proceeding for a cartel in the market of supplying gas chromatographs (Chromatec)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (Moscow)
FAS exposed a cartel for supplying gas chromatographs* Actions of “Chromatec” and “Chromatec-Service Yoshkar-Ola” at an auction for the needs of the Federal Drug Control Service resulted in maintaining auction prices Having investigated an antimonopoly case, FAS found that “Chromatec” Special (...)

The EU Court of Justice dismisses an appeal in a gas insulated switchgear cartel case (Toshiba)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 6 July 2017, the European Court of Justice of the European Union (“ECJ”) dismissed an appeal lodged by Toshiba against a judgment of the General Court (“GC”), which upheld the European Commission’s decision to re-impose nes on Toshiba for its involvement in the gas insulated switchgear cartel. (...)

The Dutch Supreme Court accepts passing-on defence in private enforcement litigations (TenneT / Gas-insulated Switchgear)
Court of First Instance of Namur (Namur)
On 8 July 2016, the Dutch Supreme Court (“the Court”) handed down a judgment upholding the availability of the passing-on defense in private enforcement litigation. The ruling resulted from a civil claim for damages brought by the electricity company TenneT against the gas-insulated switchgear (...)

The Finnish Market Court rejects the penalty proposed by the Competition Authority concerning power line matter (Empower)
Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (Helsinki)
Market Court rejects FCCA’s penalty proposal concerning power line matter* The Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA) had proposed that the Market Court impose a EUR 35 million penalty on Eltel Networks Oy and Eltel Group Oy for unlawful collaboration between competitors in power (...)

The Romanian High Court of Cassation confirms the infringement of competition law by a manufacturer of oil and gas during cartel participation (OMV Petrom)
Romanian Competition Council (Bucharest)
The Competition Council has irrevocably won the trial with OMV PETROM Marketing* The High Court of Cassation and Justice confirmed irrevocably the infringement of the Competition Law by OMV PETROM MARKETING (at the date of infringement called OMV) by participation in a cartel besides other (...)

The EU General Court rejects actions brought against the recalculated fines imposed by the EU Commission in the gas insulated switchgear cartel (GIS cartel)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
On 19 January 2016, the General Court (“GC”) issued judgments rejecting actions brought by Toshiba and Mitsubishi Electric against the recalculated fines amounting to approximately € 136 million imposed by the European Commission in June 2012 for their participation in the gas insulated switchgear (...)

The Russian Competition Authority fines once again an electricity provider for failure to submit information (Vostok)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (Moscow)
“Vostok” Ltd. is fined again for failure to submit information* The Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS Russia) imposed an administrative fine upon the General Director of “Vostok” Ltd. (Kyzyl, the Republic of Tyva) for failure to submit information to the federal antimonopoly body (breaching Part 5 (...)

The Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court upholds that remuneration system applied in the "Irsching contracts" between two electricity providers violates competition law (E.ON / TenneT)
German Competition Authority (Bonn)
Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court confirms that the remuneration system applied in the "Irsching contracts" is in violation of competition law* In its decision of 28. April 2015 (see Press Release of the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court of 28 April 2015) the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court (...)

The Romanian Competition Authority sanctions a large number of electric and electronic producers for participating in a cartel during buy-back campaigns for electric and electronic equipment (Arctic / Electrolux / Agis Computer...)
DLA Piper (Bucharest)
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DLA Piper (Bucharest)
Introduction The Romanian Competition Council (“RCC”) published in June 2014 a set of decisions concerning an alleged cartel on the market for the commercialization of electrical and electronic equipment (“EEE”) and the market for waste management of EEE ("RCC Investigation"). The RCC (...)

The AG Kokott of the EU Court of Justice states that the law of the EU precludes domestic legislation which categorically excludes any civil liability of undertakings belonging to a cartel for umbrella damages (Kone)
CDC Cartel Damage Claims (Brussels)
Advocate General Kokott stated that the law of the European Union precludes the interpretation and application of domestic legislation enacted by a Member State which categorically excludes any civil liability of undertakings belonging to a cartel for loss resulting from the fact that an (...)

The EU Court of Justice dismisses appeals brought against the GIS cartel case (Siemens / Mitsubishi Electric / Toshiba)
Van Bael & Bellis (Brussels)
ECJ dismisses appeals by Siemens, Toshiba and Mitsubishi in gas insulated switchgear cartel case* On 19 December 2013, the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) handed down a judgment dismissing appeals by Siemens AG, Toshiba Corp. and Mitsubishi Electric Corp. against earlier judgments of the (...)

Procedures

The EU Court of Justice confirms the rebuttable presumption of decisive influence for parent companies controlling 100% of voting rights in subsidiary (Goldman Sachs)
Van Bael & Bellis (London)
On 27 January 2021, the Court of Justice dismissed in its entirety an appeal by the Goldman Sachs Group (“Goldman Sachs”) against a General Court judgment upholding a European Commission’s decision finding Goldman Sachs jointly and severally liable for the conduct of its subsidiary, Prysmian SpA (...)

The EU Court of Justice confirms that financial investors can be liable where they hold 100% voting rights over an indirect entity that participated in a cartel (Goldman Sachs)
Covington & Burling (Brussels)
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Covington & Burling (London)
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Covington & Burling (Brussels)
On 27 January 2021, the Court of Justice of the European Union (“CJEU”) confirmed in Goldman Sachs Group Inc. v European Commission that financial investors can be liable where they hold 100% voting rights over an indirect entity that participated in a cartel, even though the investor does not (...)

The EU Court of Justice rejects a cartel participant’s appeal concerning the inclusion of allegedly confidential information in the non-confidential version of the infringement decision (Nexans)
McDermott Will & Emery (Brussels)
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McDermott Will & Emery (Paris)
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Norton Rose Fulbright (Brussels)
By order of 12 June 2018, the Vice President of the CJEU dismissed the appeal lodged by Nexans France SAS and Nexans SA (collectively, Nexans) against the order of the President of the GCEU of 12 July 2017. The latter rejected Nexans’s application for an interim injunction to prevent the EC from (...)

The Russian Competition Authority welcomes the payment of the fine imposed on an electricity provider for failure to submit information (Promyshlennaya Energetika)
Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (Moscow)
“Promyshlennaya Energetika” paid the fine* “Promyshlennaya Energetika” OJSC fulfilled a determination issued by the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS Russia) and paid 300,000 fined imposed for failure to comply with the Information Disclosure Standards for the participants of wholesale and retail (...)

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