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THE LATEST: Online Retailer Pleads Guilty in Conspiracy Effectuated Through Social Media

Azim Makanojiya founded Zaappaaz Inc. as a nineteen-year-old university student and quickly turned it into a multi-million dollar business. WHAT HAPPENED: On Tuesday, August 7, online retailer Zaappaaz Inc. and its twenty-nine-year-old president and founder, Azim Makanojiya, agreed to plead guilty for conspiring to fix the prices of “customized promotional products” such as silicone wristbands and lanyards. According to an Information filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, the company  “engaged in a conspiracy with other persons and entities engaged in the sale of customized promotional products,” which was carried out in part “via text and online messaging platforms.”  The alleged conspirators reportedly used social media platforms Facebook, Skype and WhatsApp to coordinate their price-fixing efforts. Acting Assistant Attorney General Andrew Finch of the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division explained the...

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THE LATEST: EU Commission Fines Facebook EUR 110 million for Providing Incorrect or Misleading Information

The Commission’s EUR 110 million fine on Facebook for breach of its procedural obligations under the EU merger control rules underscores the need to submit full, accurate and reliable information during the Commission’s merger control review process. An intentional or negligent failure to do so will lead to draconian fines—even where the provision of incorrect or misleading information does not have an impact on the ultimate outcome of the Commission’s decision. WHAT HAPPENED: In October 2014, the Commission gave Phase I merger control clearance to the acquisition of WhatsApp by Facebook (Transaction). In December 2016, that Commission announced that it had sent Facebook a Statement of Objections alleging that Facebook had intentionally, or negligently, submitted incorrect or misleading information to the Commission during its review of the Transaction by stating that it was unable to establish reliable automated matching between its users’ accounts and...

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