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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 between the right to respect for private life and the Commission’s need to obtain high probative evidence when investigating cartels.


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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 erred in law in finding that decisions of the European Commission (EC) requesting information from cement manufacturers during the course of a cartel investigation were adequately reasoned.


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Getting the Deal Through: Pharmaceutical Antitrust 2014

McDermott has contributed to the Italian chapter of the 2014 edition of “Pharmaceutical Antitrust” published by Getting the Deal Through, a valuable work tool for legal practitioners dealing with antitrust rules in the pharmaceutical sector.  The chapter addresses the most significant regulatory and antitrust issues affecting the marketing, authorization and pricing of pharmaceutical products in Italy.

Click here to read the full chapter.

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Disclosure of Leniency Application Can Lead to Withdrawal of Immunity in EU

by Martina Maier, Christoph Voelk and Philipp Werner

On 9 September 2011, the European General Court in Deltafina ruled that the European Commission is entitled to withdraw the immunity of a leniency applicant in a cartel investigation if the leniency applicant discloses the fact that it had submitted a leniency application to the Commission and the disclosure does not correspond with the "real spirit of cooperation" (in particular, was not agreed with the Commission). The leniency applicant cannot rely on the protection of legitimate expectations in such a case.  The General Court stated:

It should be also noted that the assessment of the facts, whether such a company behaved in manner that expressed the spirit of genuine cooperation in compliance with the requirements (…), can be done only with regard to the circumstances existing at the time when this conduct was performed.   With regard to the “permanent” character of the required cooperation, which has to be continuously maintained throughout the whole procedure, any conduct contrary to the spirit of genuine cooperation in itself is sufficient to establish the breach of the duty of genuine cooperation.  Therefore, any circumstance that occurred after the conduct in question cannot justify this breach (Judgment not yet available in English – convenience translation).

This judgment confirms that a company that wants to apply for leniency must know that it has to cooperate with the European Commission and that the cooperation obligation can be very far-reaching. Failure to cooperate will lead to a withdrawal of leniency. The company has to take this into account when making its decision, a decision that is increasingly complex and must balance many different, often conflicting, interests and obligations.

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