Archives: Cartel Enforcement

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THE LATEST: DOJ Price-Fixing Probe Demonstrates That Deal Risk Is Not the Only Antitrust Concern Merging Parties Should Keep in Mind

Bumble Bee Foods, and two of its senior vice presidents, have recently pled guilty to US Department of Justice (DOJ) charges that they engaged in a conspiracy to fix prices of shelf-stable tuna fish sold in the United States from 2011 to 2013. Bumble Bee agreed to pay a $25 million criminal fine that can … Continue Reading

Reform of German Competition Law

A number of amendments to the German competition law (Amendment) entered into force on 9 June 2017. The key changes are: Merger control: Introduction of a new “size of transaction”-threshold Sanctions for antitrust law infringements: Rules of liability aligned to EU concept, in particular with respect to “parental liability” Private enforcement: Implementation of EU Cartel … Continue Reading

Individual Accountability Likely to Continue for Cartel Enforcement

To date, the US Department of Justice Antitrust Division (DOJ) has obtained six corporate guilty pleas, three individual indictments and one individual guilty plea in its long-running investigation into price fixing of capacitors by primarily Japanese manufacturers. Capacitors are small electronic components that are found in nearly every device that is plugged in or powered … Continue Reading

THE LATEST: Limiting Early Discovery in Parallel Criminal and Civil Cases

Companies are increasingly facing parallel proceedings involving government investigations and follow-on private litigation. These complex cases often involve competing interests between the parties that can influence a judge’s determination on discovery timing and process. Private plaintiffs are incentivized to obtain as much information about the case as early as possible to support their allegations and … Continue Reading

Bag Fee Case Highlights Antitrust Risk Of Public Statements

For publicly traded companies, earnings calls are routine business events, as are press releases, speeches, investor conferences and trade association meetings. However, in the world of antitrust law, words uttered in these situations can provide fodder for plaintiffs to claim that instead of providing information for investors and the public, the communication’s purpose was to … Continue Reading

THE LATEST: Acting AAG Clarifies Scope of Amnesty for Executives

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) Antitrust Division (the Division) offers leniency to the first company to contact the Division and acknowledge participation in an antitrust conspiracy such as price-fixing, bid-rigging or market allocation. The Division’s leniency program requires the applicant to fully cooperate with the government’s investigation and to candidly acknowledge its wrongdoing, among … Continue Reading

European Commission Launches New Cartel Reporting Tool, Member States Laud the Role of Whistleblowers

European Commissioner of Competition Margrethe Vestager made news when she announced that the European Commission had launched a new IT system enabling individuals to anonymously report cartel activity. In parallel, several EU Member States have–in recent weeks–highlighted the role of individual informants in their own enforcement efforts. Taken together, these developments show that the stakes … Continue Reading

THE LATEST: Antitrust Umps Throw Out Information Exchanges Relating To LA Dodgers Broadcast Rights

The Department of Justice (DOJ) reinforces the perils of competitor information exchanges by challenging alleged communications between DirecTV and other video programmers related to broadcast rights for Los Angeles (LA) Dodgers baseball. WHAT HAPPENED: In November 2016, the DOJ filed an antitrust complaint against DirecTV. DOJ alleged: The LA Dodgers sought to sell broadcast rights … Continue Reading

The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) Confirms the Commission’s Approach to Hybrid Settlements

The case follows on from the Commission’s Animal Feed Phosphates cartel decision pursuant to which fines totalling €176 million were imposed on a number of producers of animal feed for price fixing and market sharing throughout the EEA. During the investigation into the infringement, all the companies involved engaged in settlement discussions with the Commission … Continue Reading

McDermott EU Competition Annual Review 2016

It is difficult for General Counsel and their teams to monitor all new developments adequately. With the growth of the Internet and the daily updates to EU competition rules, everyone receives and has access to masses of information, but it is difficult to select that which is really relevant to one’s business. McDermott’s EU Competition … Continue Reading

Changes to Polish Antimonopoly Law in a Nutshell

The Polish Office of Competition and Consumer Protection (Urząd Ochrony Konkurencji i Konsumentów, “UOKiK”) has recently published its 2015 annual report presenting its first experiences with the recent amendments to Polish merger control regulations. However, only future developments will show the effects of the new much more severe rules on cartel infringement proceedings and sanctions … Continue Reading

Ad hoc Local Leniency Application Makes the Difference: The Italian Council of State Upholds the Administrative Court of Lazio Judgment on the Alleged International Road Freight Cartel

On 20 October 2016, the Italian Council of State (the “Council of State”) upheld the judgment of the Administrative Court of Lazio (“TAR”) on the cartel in the sector of international road freight forwarding to and from Italy and confirmed the ranking applied in granting the reduction of the fine. According to the Council of … Continue Reading

DOJ, FTC Issue Antitrust Guidance to Human Resources Professionals

On October 20, 2016, the United States Department of Justice Antitrust Division (DOJ) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued joint Antitrust Guidance to Human Resource (HR) Professionals (the Guidance) involved in hiring and compensation decisions. The agencies issued the guidance to educate HR professionals about how the antitrust laws apply in the employment context.  Read … Continue Reading

Election 2016: Trump on Antitrust

While antitrust policy and enforcement has not received much attention from Donald Trump on the campaign trail, Mr. Trump has made a few notable statements regarding antitrust law that provide hints as to potential antitrust enforcement priorities for a Trump administration. Mr. Trump’s history as both a plaintiff and defendant in antitrust litigation is also … Continue Reading

General Court Confirms that the Commission May Rely on Lawfully Seized Recordings Even if Made Unlawfully by a Third Party

On 8 September 2016 the General Court (“GC”) dismissed Heiploeg’s appeal against the European Commission’s (“Commission”) decision in Shrimps (AT.39633) and confirmed that the Commission may rely on recordings seized lawfully in a “dawn raid” even if the recordings were made illegally by a third party (T-54/14). This judgment reminds us of the delicate balance … Continue Reading

The European Commission Fines Truck Manufacturers a Record €2.93 billion for Cartel Conduct

On 19 July 2016, the European Commission (Commission) imposed fines totaling €2,926,499,000 on four truck producers (39824 – Trucks). The fine is the highest ever imposed on members of a cartel by the EU competition regulator. The case is also noteworthy because it is the first Commission prohibition decision following “Brexit” and could thus become … Continue Reading

The European Court Of Justice Requires The European Commission To Provide Adequate Reasons For Its Requests For Information

On March 10, 2016, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) rendered its judgment in the so-called Cement case, (C-247/14 P HeidelbergCement v Commission, C-248/14 P Schwenk Zement v Commission, C-267/14 P Buzzi Unicem v Commission and C-268/14 P Italmobiliare v Commission) ruling that the General Court of the European Union (GCEU) had … Continue Reading

General Court of the EU Dismisses Trioplast Application Seeking Reimbursement of Interest Paid for Being Late in Paying Cartel Fine

With a judgment handed down on 12 May 2016 (Case T-669/14, Trioplast Industrier AB v. European Commission), the General Court of the European Union (GCEU) dismissed an action brought by Trioplast Industrier AB (Trioplast Industrier) claiming the annulment of an alleged decision by the European Commission (EC) to ask Trioplast Industrier to pay interest for … Continue Reading

CJEU to Rule on Extradition of EU Citizens in Criminal Antitrust Proceedings

The first European citizen to be extradited from Europe to the United States for criminal antitrust conduct recently succeeded in having a Berlin court refer the matter of his extradition to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) in the context of his damages action with regard to his extradition, after a series … Continue Reading

Dutch Competition Authority Fines Cold-Storage Companies for Exchange of Information in the Context of Merger Talks

On 23 March 2016, the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) announced that it had fined four cold-storage firms for having put in place anticompetitive arrangements while in extended merger talks with one another.  (case number: 13.0698.31|15.0710.31|15.0327.31|15.0328.31). In addition, ACM fined five individuals for their personal involvement in these anticompetitive arrangements. The case at … Continue Reading

Judge Merrick Garland’s Antitrust Past: A Brief Summary

Since President Obama announced Judge Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court of the United States last Wednesday, March 16, 2016, many have opined on his qualifications as well as the political fight about his confirmation this election year.  A few articles have noted Judge Garland’s academic background—that he taught Advanced Antitrust at his alma … Continue Reading

Enhanced Sharing of Antitrust Evidence: New EU/Japan Cooperation Agreement

On 15 March 2016, the Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) and the European Commission (Commission) announced their intention to upgrade the current antitrust co-operation agreement between Japan and the European Union. The upgrade will have a number of practical and legal implications for companies involved in international antitrust investigations or considering making leniency applications. The … Continue Reading

The European Court of Justice Rules against Overreaching Requests for Information by the European Commission

Last week, the Court of Justice of the European Union (ECJ) ruled that the General Court of the European Union (GCEU) had been wrong when deciding that the European Commission’s requests for information sent to eight cement manufacturers during the course of a cartel investigation were adequately reasoned (see judgments in casesC-247/14 P, HeidelbergCement v … Continue Reading
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