January 7, 2016
In 2015, the investigation and prosecution of companies and individuals who engage in horizontal collusion continued to build upon trends observed over the past several years. Record fines continue to be imposed, new enforcement regimes arise, and cartel investigations grow evermore globalized. We begin this Update by reviewing several themes observed in 2015, and then summarize worldwide developments on the anti-cartel front for the second half of 2015.
The Financial Sector Remains A Target Of Enforcement Authorities
The financial services sector remains a priority target for enforcement authorities around the world. Over the last several years, the US Department of Justice (“DOJ”) has prosecuted over 100 companies and individuals for collusion or fraud in financial services involving foreign exchange rates, LIBOR rates, municipal bond securities, real estate foreclosure auctions, and tax lien auctions. Building upon the enforcement actions we reported in our 2015 Mid-Year Criminal Antitrust and Competition Law Update, the fines levied by the DOJ on financial institutions this year–which include several of the largest criminal antitrust fines ever imposed–have helped to triple the amount of criminal fines imposed in FY 2015 as compared to FY 2014 (which itself was a record year), with fines from the foreign-exchange rate manipulation (“FX”) investigation comprising more than 70 percent of this year’s penalties.
Around the world, a diverse range of financial regulators, not just competition agencies, have been scrutinizing suspected collusive or fraudulent conduct in the financial sector. In the US, regulators conducting parallel investigations with the DOJ include the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Securities and Exchange Commission, Federal Reserve Board, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and New York Department of Financial Services. Internationally, non-competition focused regulators scrutinizing similar activity include the UK Financial Conduct Authority, German Federal Financial Supervisory Authority, Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority, Dutch Central Bank, Hong Kong Monetary Authority, Monetary Authority of Singapore, Japan Financial Services Agency, and Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
The investigations of the financial industry have illuminated the challenges faced by companies subject to regulation by authorities with differing charges and interests. Financial regulators may have no distinct interest in the competition aspects of alleged wrongdoing, and their policies and practices with regard to investigation, prosecution, and resolutions can, in some cases, diverge widely from those traditionally deployed by competition authorities. The cumulative and frequently overlapping demands required to cooperate with these authorities’ investigations, coupled with multiple and sometimes redundant sanctions, can exact a heavy toll on financial institutions even without factoring in the costs of inevitable follow-on private litigation. For example, Barclays–which, as reported in our 2015 Mid-Year Update, pleaded guilty to criminal charges brought by the Antitrust Division in the FX investigation and paid a $650 million fine, settled related charges with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, and paid the largest fine ever to the UK Financial Conduct Authority–recently resolved separate charges with the New York Department of Financial Services by paying a civil fine of $150 million. It also agreed to a $384 million settlement in a follow-on private class action suit.
Individuals, like corporate defendants, continue to face intense scrutiny in financial services investigations. Two former London traders were recently found guilty in the first US convictions stemming from the global LIBOR investigations. Another London-based trader also pleaded guilty to wire and bank fraud in connection with LIBOR manipulation, while other LIBOR-related charges remain pending against individuals in the US and abroad. The DOJ’s recent resolutions with financial institutions in the FX investigation, and widespread media reports regarding those matters, have focused on the conduct of a small group of traders; given DOJ’s continuing focus on culpable individuals, those traders may well find themselves the subject of prosecutions in the years ahead. The first LIBOR defendant in the UK was convicted and sentenced to 14 years in prison (later reduced to a still-significant 11 year-sentence by an appellate court). In reviewing the trader’s appeal, the Court of Appeal stated that a significant sentence was required to “make clear to all in the financial and other markets . . . that conduct of this type, involving fraudulent manipulation of the markets, will result in severe sentences of considerable length. . . .”
The Yates Memorandum
In September 2015, US Deputy Attorney General Sally Q. Yates issued the so-called “Yates Memorandum,” which emphasizes that investigations of corporate malfeasance should focus on individual wrongdoers from the very beginning. Highlighting the goal of long-term deterrence, the memorandum requires prosecutors to determine whether any individuals should be prosecuted before a corporate settlement will be approved. In addition, to settle or receive credit for cooperating with the government, corporations must identify and disclose all relevant facts concerning all individuals involved in or responsible for the misconduct being investigated, regardless of their position in the company. The implications of the Yates Memorandum, including the extent to which it alters Antitrust Division policy, will be borne out in the coming years. But it is worth noting that the Yates Memorandum specifically identifies the Antitrust Division’s Corporate Leniency Policy as a limited means for DOJ prosecutors to negotiate a corporate resolution that includes an agreement not to prosecute individual officers or employees. We expect that the number of individuals investigated and charged in cases involving corporate entities, especially in financial services, will increase as this important shift in the DOJ’s priorities takes hold over the next year.
Asia: The New Competition Enforcement Hotspot
The recent flurry of enforcement actions in Asia demonstrates the growing assertiveness of competition authorities and mounting intolerance of cartel behavior in countries there. In particular, a number of Asian countries have shown a willingness to follow the US, Europe, and Brazil in expansively interpreting the extraterritorial reach of their competition laws, and to prosecute cartels based on the effect within a jurisdiction, even if no conduct occurred there. Earlier this year, for example, the Japanese Fair Trade Commission (“JFTC”) held for the first time that the Japanese Antimonopoly Act could be applied to a cartel whose conduct occurred outside Japan but had the effect of substantially restraining competition in Japan. Similarly, prosecutors in Seoul criminally charged a Japanese manufacturer for its role in an international ball-bearing cartel–the first time a foreign company will stand trial for criminal price fixing in Korea.
Several authorities in Asia imposed significant fines in 2015. The Taiwan Fair Trade Commission (“TFTC”) recently imposed a record fine of NT$5.8 billion (approximately $176 million) on seven aluminum capacitor companies and three tantalum capacitor companies. Previously, the highest TFTC fine upheld was NT$210 million (approximately $6.3 million). In computing the capacitor fines, the TFTC adopted an aggressive interpretation of a statutory cap of 10 percent of revenues for fines, construing that provision to apply to global revenue and not merely Taiwan revenue. As one commentator said, “The international community should now be paying attention to Taiwan” because the TFTC is “very aggressive–and very efficient.” The increased activity of the TFTC, and its first-to-fine position in the various capacitors investigations, suggest it may become a consistently formidable regulator in coming years. And on December 28, China’s National Development and Reform Commission (“NDRC”) announced that it had imposed fines of 407 million RMB ($63 million) on seven companies in the roll-on roll-off cargo industry.
This year has also seen the creation of new competition regimes or the revamping of existing ones. Hong Kong’s Competition Ordinance took effect on December 14, 2015, and prohibits bid rigging, price fixing, and market allocation. Notably, Hong Kong’s competition law explicitly applies to any conduct that harms competition in Hong Kong regardless of where the conduct occurs, setting the stage for extraterritorial application. The Philippines also established its first comprehensive antitrust regime, moving away from its earlier fragmented system of enforcement. Singapore proposed new procedures for its leniency guidelines, requiring applicants to unconditionally admit to the conduct for which leniency is sought and to grant the Competition Commission of Singapore (“CCS”) a waiver of confidentiality to contact other jurisdictions also aware of the conduct. A new fast-track procedure offers settling companies an up to 10 percent reduction in fines in addition to any discount for timely cooperation in CCS investigations. And finally, Korea’s Fair Trade Commission signed a memorandum of understanding with the DOJ and US Federal Trade Commission, pledging to continue cooperation in international enforcement and solidifying what has already been a friendly relationship between the enforcers. The US also has a memorandum of understanding with China, India, and Japan.
Courts Stemming The Tide
The aggressiveness of competition authorities has coincided with what may be an increasing willingness of courts to rein in overzealous enforcement. For example, India’s Competition Appellate Tribunal this year reaffirmed the importance of procedural rights in cartel investigations in a strongly worded judgment that overturned a 61 billion rupee (approximately $920 million) fine imposed by the Competition Commission of India (“CCI”) on 11 alleged members of a cement cartel. The tribunal determined that the CCI’s investigation was procedurally unfair and ordered that the defendants be given a new hearing. In particular, the tribunal found that the fact that the CCI’s chair had approved the fines without attending the hearing (despite the fact that six members of the CCI attended) constituted a “gross violation” of fairness and impartiality. The decision addressed the enforcer’s actions in stern terms and urged it to adopt policies incorporating principles of procedural fairness.
In Chile, a court similarly threw out charges against 10 individuals for allegedly participating in price fixing of pharmaceuticals, ruling that a criminal fraud statute could not apply to an alleged antitrust violation because such a violation is governed by another set of laws and, in any event, the defendants did not explicitly deceive consumers. And in the EU, both the European Court of Justice (the highest court in the EU) and the General Court (the court of first instance) have modified or annulled penalties imposed by the European Commission in a number of cartel cases, including, as detailed below, cartels involving the air-cargo, pre-stressing steel, and cathode-ray tube industries.
In the US, juries continue to provide a backstop for prosecutions that strike the average citizen as unfair or unwarranted. For example, a jury in New Jersey recently acquitted four out of five defendants to go to trial on charges of rigging bids in tax-lien auctions.
A. UNITED STATES
1. Overview of US Enforcement Trends
a. Criminal Fines & Other Monetary Assessments
The Antitrust Division secured approximately $3.9 billion in criminal fines and monetary penalties during FY 2015, nearly three times the $1.38 billion secured in FY 2014, which was itself a record high.
The DOJ obtained approximately $3.89 billion in criminal fines for violations of the Sherman Act – another all-time high. Over 70 percent of that total resulted from the nearly $2.8 billion paid by various banks in the DOJ’s ongoing investigation into the manipulation of certain foreign exchange rates. And almost 20 percent resulted from the $775 million fine paid by Deutsche Bank & DB Group Services (UK) Limited as a result of the DOJ’s LIBOR investigation, both for Sherman Act violations and for wire fraud. Both investigations are discussed in more detail below.
We assess the Antitrust Division’s performance by considering all of its available monetary sanctions, including criminal fines, restitution, disgorgement, and penalties (for the reasons explained at length in the 2013 Year-End Criminal Antitrust Update). While the Antitrust Division continues to embrace non-prosecution agreements and multi-agency investigations, the below chart indicates a significant dip in the use of other monetary assessments as a prosecutorial tool. Nonetheless, we believe this combined metric remains the most accurate gauge of fining activity, especially in years FY2011-2014.
In a significant decrease from past years, the DOJ obtained only approximately $16 million in restitution, penalties, and disgorgement paid to federal agencies. While nearly all restitution in 2014 was imposed in connection with a single $191 million penalty, this year the DOJ sought restitution from a broader set of companies and individuals; three agreed to pay restitution of more than $1 million.
i) Criminal Fines
Approximately 90 percent of the criminal fines imposed in FY 2015 result from corporate plea agreements in two investigations: the investigation into the manipulation of certain foreign exchange rates and the LIBOR investigation. As noted in Gibson Dunn’s 2015 Mid-Year Criminal Antitrust and Competition Law Update, the largest fine was the result of the Antitrust Division’s $925 million settlement with Citicorp. Most of the other criminal fines resulted from the Antitrust Division’s long-running investigation into the auto parts industry.
Criminal Fines of More than $1 Million for Sherman Act Violations
|Deutsche Bank & DB Group Services (UK) Limited||LIBOR||$775,000,000|
|Barclays PLC||Foreign Exchange||$710,000,000|
|JP Morgan Chase & Co.||Foreign Exchange||$550,000,000|
|Royal Bank of Scotland plc||Foreign Exchange||$395,000,000|
|NGK Insulators Ltd.||Auto Parts (ceramic substrates)||$65,300,000|
|Kayaba Industry Co. Ltd., dba KYB Corporation (KYB)||Auto Parts (shock absorbers)||$62,000,000|
|Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (NYK)||Ocean Cargo Services||$59,400,000|
|Robert Bosch GmbH||Auto Parts (spark plugs, oxygen sensors and starter motors)||$57,800,000|
|Aisin Seiki Co. Ltd.||Auto Parts (variable valve timing devices)||$35,800,000|
|Espar Inc.||Auto Parts(parking heaters)||$14,900,000|
|NEC Tokin Corp.||Electrolytic Capacitors||$13,800,000|
|Minebea Co. Ltd.||Ball Bearings||$13,500,000|
|Continental Automotive Electronics LLC and Continental Automotive Korea Ltd.||Auto Parts (instrument panel clusters)||$4,000,000|
|Sanden Corp.||Auto Parts (air conditioning compressors)||$3,200,000|
|Yamada Manufacturing Co.||Auto Parts (manual steering columns)||$2,500,000|
|Hitachi Metals Ltd.||Auto Parts (brake hoses)||
The Antitrust Division has announced only one corporate plea agreement thus far in FY2016, which resulted in a $2.35 million fine.
|Criminal Fines of More than $1 Million for Sherman Act Violations
Imposed or Agreed to During FY 2016 (October 2015–present)
|INOAC Corp.||Auto Parts (interior trim)||
ii) Monetary Assessments
As in past years, the Antitrust Division continued to secure monetary assessments, but only two of them exceeded $1 million.
|Other Monetary Assessments of More than $1 Million from Antitrust Division
Investigations During FY 2015 (October 2014–September 2015)
|Coach USA Inc., City Sights LLC, and Twin America LLC||Hop-on, hop off bus tours||
|Washington Gas Energy Systems||Federal Contracts||
iii) Prison Sentences
There was a marked decrease in the average prison sentence secured by the Antitrust Division in FY2015, with the average prison length decreasing to 16 months, a low not seen since FY2006.
This year, 8 individual defendants have been sentenced to serve a total of 3,710 days in prison sentences, representing less than a third of the number of prison days sentenced in FY2014, and just over 10 percent of the prison days sentenced in FY2012, the highest year on record. It remains to be seen if this is a consistent trend, or an aberration. Indeed, the Antitrust Division has announced a number of indictments and guilty pleas, largely resulting from the ongoing auto parts and real estate auction investigations, with sentencing to be announced later in FY2016.
a. London InterBank Offered Rates (“LIBOR”)
On November 5, 2015, after a four week trial, a jury in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York convicted two former Coöperatieve Centrale Raiffeisen-Boerenleenbank B.A. (Rabobank) derivative traders on charges related to manipulation of the LIBOR for the US Dollar (“USD”) and the Japanese Yen. The defendants were UK residents Anthony Allen, who was Rabobank’s Global Head of Liquidity & Finance and the manager of the company’s money market desk in London, and Anthony Conti, who served as Rabobank’s primary USD LIBOR submitter and at times acted as Rabobank’s back-up Yen LIBOR submitter. The jury found them guilty of conspiracy to commit wire and bank fraud as well as substantive counts of wire fraud based on evidence that they submitted LIBOR contributions skewed to benefit the trading positions of the bank and certain of its employees. Sentencing is scheduled for March 10, 2016.
The government also obtained a guilty plea from a former Deutsche Bank trader, Michael Ross Curtler, who is the first of that bank’s employees to be charged in connection with LIBOR. Curtler pleaded guilty on October 8, 2015 to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud.
In a separate LIBOR manipulation case in the Southern District of New York, the District Court denied a motion to dismiss filed by defendant Roger Darin on August 3, 2015. The DOJ has charged Mr. Darin with being responsible for the Yen LIBOR submissions of UBS AG. The District Court refused to dismiss the criminal complaint alleging that Darin conspired to commit wire fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1343, concluding that Darin–a citizen of Switzerland, “a nation which does not extradite its citizens for financial crimes,” who had avoided arrest by remaining in Switzerland–is a fugitive equitably prohibited from seeking judicial relief in the US courts. In the alternative, the District Court concluded that even if the fugitive disentitlement doctrine did not apply, the complaint alleged a sufficient connection between Darin’s actions and the United States to satisfy the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment. Darin’s appeal and petition for Second Circuit mandamus review of the District Court’s ruling remain pending.
As to the pension-administration consequences of the resolution of LIBOR allegations earlier in 2015, the Department of Labor granted temporary relief in September 2015 to Deutsche Bank, allowing its affiliates to rely on Prohibited Transaction Exemption 84-14 for nine months, while noting that Deutsche Bank affiliate DB Group Services UK Limited had been criminally convicted for one count of wire fraud in connection with LIBOR manipulation.
b. Auto Parts
As predicted in our 2015 Mid-Year Criminal Antitrust and Competition Law Update, it appears that the Antitrust Division’s six-year investigation into the auto parts industry is now slowing. Nevertheless, the Antitrust Division’s landmark auto parts enforcements remain important, both in terms of current actions, as well as serving as a bellwether for future global cartel enforcement. For example, the Antitrust Division regards the auto parts investigations as an example of growing cooperation and “convergence” among multinational enforcement authorities. In September 29, 2015 remarks, Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer singled out the auto parts investigation as an “impressive example [of the] close cooperation with enforcers from Asia and Europe.” According to Baer, the auto parts investigations demonstrate that when “combined with the incentives to self-report created by leniency programs, [multinational cooperation] exposed an extensive and long-lasting series of conspiracies among auto parts manufacturers.” Additionally, while the pace has apparently slowed, each new plea agreement or indictment announcement further increases the margin by which the auto parts investigations exceed the scope and magnitude of the Antitrust Division’s prior enforcements in any industry.
On September 3, 2015, the Antitrust Division announced that NGK Insulators Ltd., based in Nagoya, Japan, pleaded guilty to a two-count felony charge, and agreed to pay a $65.3 million criminal fine, for conduct related to a conspiracy to fix prices and rig bids for ceramic substrates used in automotive catalytic converters, as well as obstruction of justice.
In mid-September, the Antitrust Division announced that Kayaba Industry Co. Ltd. (d/b/a KYB Corporation) agreed to plead guilty and pay a $62 million criminal fine for a conspiracy to fix prices for shock absorbers used in cars and motorcycles. The KYB matter is the first auto parts settlement focused on shock absorbers, and is separately interesting because the company received a 40 percent “downward departure” from the fine range ($103.68 million to $207.36 million) calculated under the US Sentencing Guidelines. In its motion requesting the downward departure, the Antitrust Division noted that in addition to providing substantial assistance, the company had developed and implemented a “comprehensive and innovative compliance policy . . . [that included the] hallmarks of an effective compliance policy including direction from top management at the company, training, anonymous reporting, proactive monitoring and auditing, and provided for discipline of employees who violated the policy.”
On November 19, 2015, the Antitrust Division announced that INOAC Corp., based in Nagoya, Japan, agreed to plead guilty and pay a $2.35 million criminal fine for conspiracy to fix prices and rig bids for plastic interior trim parts.
During the second half of 2015, the Antitrust Division also took action against individual executives. Not all involved parties with connections to Japan. On October 8, 2015, the Antitrust Division announced the indictment of Keiji Kyomoto, Mikio Katsumaru, and Yuji Kuroda for allegedly participating in a conspiracy to fix prices and rig bids regarding automotive body sealing products, such as the weather-stripping used on doors and trunk lids. During the period of the alleged conduct, Kyomoto was the President of a US joint venture, which was partially owned by the Hiroshima, Japan-based company that employed Katsumaru and Kuroda. Katsumaru served in multiple managerial positions at the Hiroshima entity, while Kuroda was a sales branch manager at the same company. While neither the Antitrust Division’s press release nor the indictment identify the executives’ corporate affiliation, media reports identified that they were connected to the Nishikawa Rubber Co.
On December 9, 2015, the Antitrust Division announced the indictment of three German executives, Frank Haeusler, Volker Hohensee, and Harald Sailer. According to the Department, the executives and their co-conspirators allegedly met to discuss prices, and agreed to set a price floor and coordinate price increases for parking heaters, which are devices used to provide heat in commercial vehicle interiors without the need to operate the engine.
To date, the Antitrust Division has charged 38 companies and 58 individuals, who have agreed to pay a total of more than $2.6 billion during the Antitrust Division’s investigation of the auto parts industry. While our previous assessment that the Antitrust Division’s investigation of the industry appears to be slowing has been confirmed, we do anticipate additional developments in 2016.
c. Roll-on, Roll-off Cargo
The continuing investigation of the international roll-on, roll-off ocean shipping industry (involving cargo such as cars, trucks, and agricultural equipment that can “roll” on and off of cargo ships without the need for containers) resulted in the recent indictment of three former ocean freight executives. In late 2015, Yoshiyuki Aoki (formerly of Kawasaki Kisen Kaisha (“K-Line”)), Masahiro Kato and Shunichi Kusunose (formerly of Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha (“NYK”)) were charged with a long-running price fixing conspiracy to allocate customers and routes, rig bids and fix prices for the sale of international ocean shipments to and from the United States and elsewhere. The indictment charges Aoki, Kusunose and Kato with participating in the conspiracy in dates ranging from as early as 2001 until at least September 2012. They are among seven executives charged in the investigation so far–four of whom have pleaded guilty and have been sentenced to prison.
As we reported in our 2015 Mid-Year Criminal Antitrust and Competition Law Update, several firms–NYK, K-Line, and Compañía Sud American de Vapores, S.A.–and three K-Line executives pleaded guilty in 2014 and early 2015 to charges of price fixing and customer allocation for ocean shipping services. To date, these firms have pleaded guilty and paid more than $136 million in criminal fines.
d. Cathode Ray Tubes
As reported previously, in 2009 and 2010, the DOJ indicted six individuals in connection with an investigation into an alleged price-fixing conspiracy by manufacturers of color display tubes (“CDTs”), a type of cathode ray tube. CDTs are display components once used in computer monitors. In the ensuing years, the DOJ obtained a guilty plea from one company. On November 17, 2015, however, the DOJ obtained its first individual guilty plea when Chun Cheng “Alex” Yeh, a former executive of a Taiwanese company, pleaded guilty to price fixing. Under the plea agreement, the DOJ recommended a $20,000 fine and eight months in prison. The sentencing hearing will be held on March 1, 2016 before Judge Alsup in the Northern District of California.
As reported in our 2015 Mid-Year Criminal Antitrust and Competition Law Update, the DOJ, the Japanese Fair Trade Commission, the European Commission, the Korean Fair Trade Commission, the Taiwan Fair Trade Commission, China’s National Development and Reform Commission, and Brazil’s Council for Economic Defense are reported to be investigating manufacturers of certain types of capacitors. In September 2015, the DOJ has announced that a company agreed to plead guilty and pay a $13.8 million criminal fine, making it the first company to agree to plead guilty in the US.
3. Developments in Domestic Investigations
a. Municipal Bonds
Three former UBS executives have asked the US Supreme Court to review their convictions for (non-antitrust) charges related to fraud in the bidding process for municipal bonds. As we reported in our 2015 Mid-Year Criminal Antitrust and Competition Law Update, the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit affirmed the judgments against Gary Heinz, Michael Welty, and Peter Ghavami on June 4, 2015, after a jury convicted them of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 371 and 1349 and, as to Heinz and Ghavami only, wire fraud in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1343. Among their many arguments on appeal, the defendants claimed that their convictions were barred by a five-year statute of limitations. The Second Circuit rejected this argument. It held that a longer, ten-year statute of limitations applied pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3293(2), which governs any wire fraud offense (including conspiracy to commit wire fraud) in which “the offense affects a financial institution.” The court reasoned that the charged conduct–which the defendants undertook for UBS’s benefit and in a conspiracy purportedly with UBS itself–ultimately led UBS and two other banks to “incur significant payments and related fees” when the banks reached settlements with the Department of Justice, SEC, IRS, and 25 states.
On October 2, 2015, the defendants petitioned the US Supreme Court for a writ of certiorari, challenging the Second Circuit’s holding that their conduct “affect[ed] a financial institution” within the meaning of § 3293(2). The petition calls upon the Supreme Court to interpret § 3293(2), which was enacted as part of the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 (“FIRREA”). The defendants contend that the statute’s phrase, “affects a financial institution,” cannot apply to their conduct for several reasons: first, as a textual matter, they say that a financial institution cannot “affect itself”; second, under the law of causation, they argue that actions taken by the bank’s co-conspirators cannot proximately cause legal settlements later reached by the bank; and third, they contend that applying § 3293(2) against a bank and its agents would frustrate FIRREA’s purpose “to protect banks from bad actors, not from the banks themselves.” Petitioners also suggest that a circuit split exists regarding the interpretation of § 3293(2), and their brief quotes various federal courts’ standards for whether charged conduct “affects” a bank.
The United States filed its brief in opposition to certiorari on December 7, 2015. The government’s brief leans heavily on the breadth of the word “affects” to argue that “[w]hen a bank employee exposes his employer to criminal liability and substantial monetary penalties, that employee has ‘affected’ the bank’s financial wellbeing.” As for the statute’s purpose, the government argues that FIRREA does not merely protect banks themselves (the purpose on which petitioners focus), but rather, is intended to protect the broader US banking system–a purpose that the government regards as “well served by punishing bank employees who involve their employers and other banks in criminal wrongdoing.” The government’s brief also denies that any meaningful circuit split exists, based on the argument that UBS’s settlements and legal fees are so closely linked to petitioners’ conduct that any “affects” standard under § 3293(2) would encompass this case.
b. New Jersey Tax Lien Auctions
The fall of 2015 saw significant activity in the DOJ’s New Jersey Tax Lien investigation. The DOJ was set to try bid rigging claims against six defendants: individuals Gregg Gehring, James Jeffers, Jr., Joseph Wolfson, and Robert Jeffrey, and corporate defendants Betty Simon Trustee LLC and Richard Simon Trustee. But, in September 2015, only days before trial, Antitrust Division prosecutors dismissed price-fixing charges against Gregg Gehring. The DOJ did not provide reasons for the dismissal.
The cases against the remaining five defendants were tried over three weeks. In October 2015, a jury convicted Mr. Jeffers of conspiracy in violation of the Sherman Act. The remaining defendants were acquitted. Mr. Jeffers will be sentenced in March 2016. A number of additional individual and corporate defendants in the investigation are also expected to be sentenced in 2016.
c. Real Estate Auctions
The Antitrust Division continued its aggressive push to root out bid rigging in public auctions for real estate foreclosures, tacking on more prosecutions following those discussed in our prior Updates.
Recent criminal enforcement efforts continue to focus primarily on foreclosure auction bid-rigging schemes in the Northern District of Georgia, but have also continued in Alabama. Since July 2015, three additional individuals have pleaded guilty or agreed to plead guilty for their roles in these bid-rigging schemes, and two more individuals have been formally charged.
In September 2015, Michael P. Barbour pleaded guilty for his role in conspiracies to rig bids and commit mail fraud at public real estate foreclosure auctions in southern Alabama. Mr. Barbour admitted to conspiring to fraudulently acquire title to foreclosed properties at artificially low prices by agreeing with others not to bid against each other at public foreclosure auctions in southern Alabama. According to the DOJ, Mr. Barbour’s prosecution marks the eleventh of its kind in the state of Alabama.
In October 2015, Georgia real estate investors Morris Podber and Trent Gaines pleaded guilty to conspiring to rig foreclosure auctions and to commit mail fraud in Fulton and DeKalb counties. According to the plea agreements, after foreclosure auctions, the investors and their co-conspirators would divvy up the targeted properties in private side auctions, open only to the conspirators.
As reported in our 2014 Year-End Criminal Antitrust and Competition Law Update, a jury in the Eastern District of California convicted Andrew Katakis and another co-defendant of rigging foreclosure auctions in San Joaquin County. In October 2015, Mr. Katakis filed a motion for a new trial citing prosecutorial misconduct, instructional error, ineffective assistance of counsel and the cumulative effect of evidentiary spillover. The DOJ has filed a motion opposing Mr. Katakis’ request for a new trial, claiming Mr. Katakis received a “vigorous, aggressive” defense. As of the date of this update, the motion remains pending, and an evidentiary hearing on the motion has been set for February 2016.
On January 4, 2016, two additional Georgia real estate investors pleaded guilty to bid rigging and mail fraud in connection with foreclosure auctions in Georgia. Like the Georgian defendants described above, the defendants here admitted that they agreed not to bid against others at public real estate foreclosure auctions, then used payoffs and private side auctions to divide money among themselves. These defendants were the eleventh and twelfth defendants charged as part of the ongoing investigation into bid rigging at foreclosure auctions in Georgia.
d. Coastal Water Freight Transportation
As discussed in the 2015 Mid-Year Criminal Antitrust and Competition Law Update, Frank Peake, former president of Sea Star Lines, was convicted by a jury in Puerto Rico of participating in an antitrust conspiracy to fix prices and allocate market share for the transportation of goods by water to Puerto Rico in January 2013. He was sentenced to five years in prison and appealed to the First Circuit. In October 2015, the First Circuit affirmed Peake’s sentence and his conviction. Peake challenged his conviction and sentence on multiple grounds, including the validity of his indictment, the scope of the search warrant executed by the government, the denial of his motion to change venue, improper remarks made by the prosecutor during trial, and the allegedly incorrect computation of the amount of commerce affected by the charged conspiracy, among other things. The court rejected Peake’s arguments and affirmed both his conviction and his sentence, which was the longest sentence ever imposed for an antitrust violation.
In August, a grand jury in San Francisco indicted Daniel William Aston and his company Trod, Ltd. which runs a website based in the United Kingdom, for fixing prices of poster art on the Amazon Marketplace. Each faces one count of violating the Sherman Act. The indictment alleges that Aston discussed pricing with competitors and agreed to use an algorithm to set prices in accordance with the conspiracy.
f. Government Contracts
The investigation into the New York Power Authority procurement fraud is ongoing and has led to a second guilty plea. During the course of the investigation, the Antitrust Division uncovered evidence that Peter Shine, a construction company owner in New Jersey, siphoned funds and underreported his income. He pleaded guilty to subscribing to a false tax return, which has a maximum penalty of three years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division stated that the Division will continue to work with other law enforcement agencies to prosecute any crimes uncovered during its investigations.
g. Water Treatment Chemicals
As a result of an investigation into a conspiracy to eliminate competition in the market for water treatment chemicals by fixing prices, rigging bids, and allocating customers, a former executive of a water treatment chemicals manufacturer has pleaded guilty to a violation of the Sherman Act. The former executive, Frank Reichl, admitted to participating in a conspiracy not to compete for contracts for liquid aluminum sulfate by intentionally submitting losing bids, withdrawing inadvertently winning bids, and discussing prices to be quoted or bids to customers. He is the first defendant to plead guilty to his participation in this fifteen year conspiracy.
In December 2014, Chicken of the Sea, owned by Thai Union Frozen Products (“TUF”), announced an agreement to purchase Bumble Bee Seafoods from its owner, Lion Capital, a private equity firm. The merger would have consolidated the second and third largest tuna producers in the United States, and was expected to close in the second half of 2015.
In July 2015, both Chicken of the Sea and Bumble Bee announced that they had received subpoenas from the Department of Justice related to an antitrust investigation into price fixing in the packaged seafood industry as a whole. In response, TUF announced that it was postponing an offering to finance the merger with Bumble Bee.
In fall 2015, TUF indicated that it would be willing to divest its Chicken of the Sea business if antitrust regulators signed off on the deal. But instead, on December 3, 2015, the Justice Department informed the parties that it “had serious concerns that the proposed transaction would harm competition,” and the parties announced that they had abandoned their plans to merge. The Justice Department concluded that “[o]ur investigation convinced us . . . that the market is not functioning competitively today, and further consolidation would only make things worse.” The DOJ’s criminal price-fixing investigation is ongoing.
4. Developments in the Antitrust Division
a. Speeches by Key Division Personnel
In the second half of 2015, Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer offered remarks in both domestic and international settings that focused on, among other topics, collusive cartel policing, and international cooperation and collaboration. These speeches signaled the Division would stay its course in vigilant cartel enforcement.
Assistant Attorney General Baer spoke at the New Health Care Industry Conference about the contours of antitrust enforcement in the health care sector in the wake of the rollout of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In light of the fact that health care continues to be one of the largest and fastest growing industries in the American economy, the DOJ and FTC partnered with the Department of Health and Human Services to provide guidance to medical providers about compliance with the ACA, including distinguishing permissible from anticompetitive collaboration practices among providers. Consistent with DOJ policy in other sectors, Baer stressed that merger enforcement remains a top priority in the healthcare context, particularly as applied to health insurance companies. Current merger enforcement policy in the area contemplates the interplay between physician and hospital services and insurance coverage, bargaining leverage within and between those respective markets, and the effect on consumer care options and insurance policies ranging from individual to employer-sponsored to Medicare or Medicaid enrollees. Moreover, the decision to approve or block a merger stems from a forward-looking — rather than static — evaluation of the market and the firms that populate it. In Baer’s words, “[w]e don’t just take a snapshot of the markets as we find them today, or as we found them yesterday; we assess how they are likely to evolve, including trends toward increased concentration.” In closing, Baer emphasized the illegality of anticompetitive agreements in the health services sector unrelated to price fixing, for example group boycotts or collusion on advertisement or services rendered, and vowed that antitrust enforcers will “remain vigilant” in evaluating traditional institutionalized pitfalls of the health care market like low price transparency, poor information about product quality, high barriers to entry, and the vulnerability of the consumer.
In a speech delivered at the Ninth Annual Global Antitrust Enforcement Symposium, Baer touted recent developments in international antitrust enforcement and the gravitation towards inter-jurisdictional convergence. With respect to anti-cartel activity, Baer proudly announced that “there is near unanimity about the importance of fighting price fixing, bid rigging, and market allocation.”
In his speech at the 12th Annual Economic Development and Housing Conference, Baer focused on criminal sanctions and efforts to deter collusive behavior. Baer drew from examples that “showcase the Antitrust Division’s strong record of criminal antitrust enforcement during the Obama Administration.” In particular, Baer cited the Division’s nearly $3 billion in foreign exchange related fines, and charges against 110 individuals involved in a bid-rigging scheme connected to foreclosure sales during the recession years. Baer explained that the DOJ’s use of criminal sanctions against over 400 individuals and 140 corporations during the Obama Administration “serve an important deterrent effect because they directly affect something that corporate executives and investors care deeply about: a company’s bottom line.”
b. Yates Memorandum
The second half of 2015 also contained notable developments with respect to the formalization of the US Department of Justice’s policy regarding the prosecution of individuals responsible for corporate wrongdoing to the overall criminal and civil enforcement regime. On September 9, 2015, US Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates issued a policy memorandum on such prosecutions to all US Attorneys and certain DOJ department heads, including the Antitrust, Criminal, and Civil Divisions (the “Yates Memo”); the memorandum was followed by a high-profile speech on the same subject matter the very next day. On November 16, 2015 Deputy Attorney General Yates announced corresponding revisions to the United States Attorneys’ Manual (“USAM”), a DOJ policy manual that serves as the foundation for many of the key decisions that DOJ attorneys make during their work.
As Gibson Dunn has observed elsewhere, the Yates Memo reflects how goals and policy positions that federal prosecutors have long articulated and pursued are now being formalized in DOJ policy. The Yates Memo–as well as Deputy Attorney General Yates’s public comments and the resulting changes to the USAM–nonetheless provides an opportunity to better understand how DOJ’s practices dovetail with its policy of holding individual wrongdoers accountable in antitrust cases. Critically, the Yates Memo states explicitly that it will not alter the current practices of the Antitrust Division’s Corporate Leniency Program. To the extent that the Yates Memo will affect DOJ policy going forward, such changes can be expected to occur with respect to companies negotiating guilty pleas with the Division.
Specifically, the Yates Memo sets forth “six key steps” intended to enhance the DOJ’s effort to “fully leverage its resources to identify culpable individuals at all levels in corporate cases,” which are as follows:
To qualify for any cooperation credit, corporations must provide all relevant facts relating to individuals responsible for the misconduct. Perhaps the most extensive revision is to the so-called “Filip Factors,” which deal with the “Value of Cooperation.” The Yates Memo revises the USAM to treat disclosure of all relevant facts related to individual wrongdoing as a threshold for the receipt of any cooperation credit.
In order for a company to receive any consideration for cooperation under this section, the company must identify all individuals involved in or responsible for the misconduct at issue, regardless of their position, status or seniority, and provide to the Department all facts relating to that misconduct. This principle applies both to settlement agreements and to sentencing factors taken into consideration following a successful prosecution.
Aware that this change in official policy may encompass the privileged work product generated during an internal investigation, in her November speech Deputy Attorney General Yates clarified that nothing in the USAM revisions requires companies to waive the attorney-client privilege in order to receive cooperation credit; instead, companies are expected only to disclosure relevant facts identified during the course of an investigation. This position is also articulated in the USAM itself.
Furthermore, USAM now expands on the recognition that voluntary disclosure may be an ongoing process that itself informs the scope of an internal investigation into wrongdoing. Section 9-28.700 now contains language that recognizes that an initial voluntary disclosure may occur “even before all facts are known to the company,” and therefore explains that DOJ “does not expect that such early disclosures would be complete.” Finally, the provision explains that where a company is unable to “get access to certain evidence or is actually prohibited from disclosing it to the government . . . the company seeking cooperation will bear the burden of explaining the restrictions it is facing to the prosecutor.” The formal recognition of difficulties in collecting or disclosing certain evidence may also reflect the reality that data privacy laws or blocking statutes imposed in other countries may impede or otherwise burden internal investigations conducted by companies with operations worldwide.
The requirement to disclose all wrongdoing by individual officials is already a requirement of the DOJ’s Corporate Leniency Program, so this shift of focus will likely have limited application to Leniency applicants in antitrust cases. However, this policy, which Yates described in her speech at New York University as a “substantial shift from prior practice,” will likely have an impact on entities in a cartel case who have not applied for Leniency, who might otherwise have gotten some cooperation credit by, for example, disclosing the conduct of colluding competitors, producing foreign-located documents, or making witnesses available at company expense, regardless of the completeness of disclosure regarding the culpability of individuals within the company. Whether this results in a discernable difference in how the Division determines the appropriate metrics for cooperation credit (including in the computation of the volume of commerce) will likely play out as new investigations are launched and plea agreements negotiated in the coming years.
From their inception, criminal and civil corporate investigations should focus on individuals. The Yates Memo details the importance of focusing “on wrongdoing by individuals from the very beginning of any investigation of corporate misconduct,” including the need for government attorneys to act promptly in light of limitations periods. Accordingly, the revised USAM contains language expressing that pursuing individual wrongdoers is “[o]ne of the most effective ways to combat corporate misconduct” because it “deters future illegal activity, incentivizes changes in corporate behavior, ensures that the proper parties are held responsible for their actions, and promotes the public’s confidence in our justice system.” Apparently in response to criticisms that certain areas of the DOJ had been too lenient in pursuit of corporate wrongdoing, former section 9-28.100 has been modified with the apparent focus on removing indications that DOJ shares common goals with corporate directors and officers under investigation.
The need to focus on–and therefore tailor an investigation towards–individuals potentially responsible for corporate malfeasance in an expeditious manner was a goal articulated throughout the Yates Memo and Deputy Attorney General Yates’s September and November speeches. We expect that this shift, as with the requirement for disclosure of individual wrongdoing to earn cooperation credit, may lead prosecutors to insist on much more detail about specific individuals at earlier stages in discussions with corporate defendants.
Criminal and civil DOJ attorneys handling corporate investigations should remain in routine communication with one another. The Yates Memo clearly states that “[c]riminal and civil attorneys handling corporate investigations should be in routine communication with one another.” Accordingly, the revisions to the USAM include directives for civil and criminal DOJ attorneys to share information as early as permissible in order to “permit consideration of the fullest range of the government’s potential remedies” in order to ensure that both civil and regulatory alternatives to criminal punishment are explored over the lifespan of an investigation. The revisions caution, however, that coordination should be “handled carefully in order to avoid allegations of improper release of grand jury material or abuse of civil process.”
DOJ will not release culpable individuals from civil or criminal liability when resolving a matter with a corporation absent extraordinary circumstances or approved policy. In a notable shift–on paper–from prior DOJ policy, the Yates Memo and the revised USAM prohibit corporate resolutions from immunizing individuals or dismissing charges against them, except in “extraordinary circumstances.” However, two considerations may limit the extent to which this announcement meaningfully alters the course of the DOJ’s investigations in antitrust cases. First, this policy does not apply to applicants for the Antitrust Division’s Corporate Leniency Program. Second, and perhaps equally importantly, even before the Yates Memo, it was rare for current resolution agreements to provide culpable individuals with such protections. At a minimum, though, this new guideline may increase the amount of oversight of division attorneys by the Division’s front office: under the revised USAM, any release of individual liability (whether pursuant to an approved policy or not) must be vetted and approved by the relevant Assistant Attorney General or a United States Attorney. And, it may, in certain close cases, mean that the Division declines to include an individual with some degree of culpability within the non-prosecution protections of the corporate plea agreement–even if the Division does not ultimately seek to initiate charges against such individuals.
DOJ attorneys should not resolve civil matters against a corporation without a clear plan to resolve related individual cases. As Ms. Yates stated in her November 16 speech, the Yates Memo’s revisions to the USAM would allow DOJ civil attorneys “to resolve corporate cases only when there is a clear plan to pursue individuals[,]” a directive also reflected in the Yates Memorandum. Accordingly, it appears that DOJ officials will now be required to formalize their analysis of whether any individual wrongdoers can be prosecuted before a corporate settlement can be approved.
DOJ attorneys should evaluate whether to bring suit against an individual based on considerations beyond an individual’s ability to pay and may consider whether charges against responsible individuals satisfy prosecutorial goals. In keeping with the Yates Memorandum’s emphasis on the fact that individual prosecutions are among the highest priority of any corporate investigation, the revisions to the USAM provide that determinations as to whether to bring suit against an individual should not be based solely on the individual’s ability to pay a judgment. Instead, by focusing broadly on the need to hold corporate wrongdoers accountable, federal prosecutions serve the “twin goals of recovering the losses caused by the misconduct and deterrence through individual accountability.” Relatedly, the USAM now includes a section that requires prosecutors to “consider whether charges against the individuals responsible for the corporation’s malfeasance will adequately satisfy the goals of federal prosecution.” Without saying so explicitly, these revisions appear to reflect the possibility that a company that discloses misconduct early and completely will informally benefit where individual wrongdoers are identified and prosecuted.
5. International Cooperation
The second half of 2015 saw further success for the Antitrust Division and the FTC in solidifying working arrangements with foreign enforcement agencies across the globe. Ranging from joint investigations with European agencies to partnership agreements with Asian enforcers, the Division continues to aggressively pursue its goal of attaining international convergence and inter-jurisdictional cooperation.
On September 8, the DOJ and FTC signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Korea’s Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) memorializing both countries’ pledge to continue cooperating in international enforcement. Effective immediately, the agreement was signed by the heads of each of the three agencies: Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer of the Antitrust Division, Chairwoman Edith Ramirez of the FTC, and Chairman Jeong Jae-chan of the KFTC. The MOU records the agencies’ intentions to coordinate enforcement efforts while pursuing matters under common review, sets a framework for inter-agency communication, and details confidentiality policies on information shared between the KFTC and US enforcement agencies. The MOU makes Korea the third East Asian country to form an antitrust accord with the US, joining Japan (1999) and China (2011). Baer added that “Enforcement cooperation – including candid and constructive dialogue – is critical to maintaining competitive markets in the United States, Korea, and around the world.”
In the second half of 2015, the Canadian Competition Bureau (“CCB”) secured its eighth guilty plea in a long-running investigation into bid rigging in the auto parts industry. On December 9, 2015, the CCB announced that Toyo Tire & Rubber Company, a Japanese manufacturer of automobile and truck tires as well as other rubber components, had agreed to plead guilty to three counts of bid rigging under the Competition Act for the company’s participation in an international conspiracy related to the supply of anti-vibration components to Toyota Motor Company. Toyo also agreed to pay a fine of CAD 1.7 million ($1.25 million). The CCB’s auto parts investigation has yielded a total of more than CAD 58 million ($42.7 million) in fines since April 2013.
The CCB also secured a fine in another multiyear investigation, this one into anticompetitive behavior in Ontario’s residential water heater industry. On October 30, 2015, the CCB announced it had fined Direct Energy Marketing Limited CAD 1 million ($737,000) to resolve concerns that Direct Energy restricted competition and limited consumer choice in Ontario’s residential water heater market. Direct Energy, which has since exited the Ontario market, also agreed to establish and maintain a corporate compliance program in the event it re-enters that market in the next 10 years. The CCB’s investigation began in December 2012 when the bureau filed allegations against Direct Energy and Reliance Comfort Limited Partnership charging that the two companies used return policies and procedures designed to make it more difficult for customers who rented water heaters to switch to products offered by competitors. In November 2014, the CCB announced that it had obtained a commitment from EnerCare Inc., the company that had acquired Direct Energy’s water heater rental business in Ontario, that EnerCare would not continue Direct Energy’s alleged anticompetitive policies and practices. At the same time, the CCB announced it had reached a consent agreement with Reliance that included payment of a CAD 5 million ($3.7 million) fine.
The CCB suffered a blow in late 2015 when the Public Prosecution Service of Canada (PPSC) decided to drop a high-profile prosecution into an alleged chocolate cartel. On November 18, 2015, the PPSC announced that it would stay charges against Nestlé Canada Inc. and a former Nestlé executive, thereby ending the bureau’s investigation into alleged price fixing by five companies. The CCB launched the investigation into the alleged chocolate cartel in 2007 after Cadbury Adams Canada Inc. reported the conduct under the CCB’s immunity program. In June 2013, Hershey Canada Inc., which cooperated with the CCB in return for leniency, pleaded guilty to a criminal charge of price fixing and was fined CAD 4 million ($2.9 million). Also in June 2013, criminal charges were filed against Nestlé, Mars Canada Inc., and ITWAL Limited (a national network of independent wholesale distributors), as well as three current and former executives from Nestlé and ITWAL. But the prosecution began to collapse in early September 2015 when the PPSC dropped charges against all defendants except for Nestlé and a former Nestlé executive. Although neither the PPSC or the CCB provided an explanation for the decision to drop charges against the remaining defendants in November, one publication suggested it was in part because the charges–which stemmed from conduct alleged to have occurred in 2007–were too old to comport with Canadian law that guarantees defendants that their cases will go forward in a “reasonable time.”
Meanwhile, the second half of 2015 also saw the CCB launch investigations into the airline industry. In July 2015, the CCB asked a federal judge in Ottawa to order Air Canada to turn over information related to a proposed joint venture between the flag carrier and Air China. Air Canada and Air China had previously announced a joint venture that would increase cooperation between the two firms in sales, marketing, and airport operations, as well as share revenue. The CCB’s probe marks the second time in recent years that the bureau has investigated Air Canada for a joint venture: in October 2012, the CCB reached a settlement with Air Canada and United Continental that barred the two airlines, which had entered into a joint venture, from coordinating on key aspects of competition.
On the judicial front, a Canadian court issued a decision that could have implications for companies that plead guilty to a regulatory offense and subsequently find themselves barred from entering into public contracts. In 9060-1766 Québec inc. c Agence de revenu du Québec, 2015 QCCS 3339, a company charged with providing inaccurate information to tax officials decided not to fight the charges, instead pleading guilty and paying a $500 fine. The company later learned that as a result of its guilty plea, it was barred from entering into contracts with the Québec government. The company applied to the Superior Court of Québec for authorization to withdraw its guilty plea, and the court granted the request. According to the court, there was no evidence that the company, which had not sought legal advice with respect to its guilty plea, knew or could have known the consequences of its plea. The court further suggested that prosecutors should consider spelling out the collateral consequences of a guilty plea in the statement of offence for regulatory offenses, to ensure that the accused makes an informed decision.
As forecasted in our 2015 Mid-Year Criminal Antitrust Update, 2015 was an active year for Brazilian cartel enforcement. In the second half of 2015, Brazil’s competition authority, the Administrative Council for Economic Defense (“CADE”) continued its investigations in “Operation Car Wash” and into foreign exchange rates. In addition, CADE upheld the historic fines imposed in the 2014 cement case. Moreover, CADE reached settlements, rendered decisions imposing high fines, and initiated a number of new investigations. Finally, CADE published two important documents to provide guidance to companies on (i) implementing internal compliance programs, and (ii) its leniency program.
1. “Operation Car Wash” Continues
As reported in our 2015 Mid-Year Criminal Antitrust Update, the General Superintendence of CADE has been coordinating with Brazilian federal prosecutors in an investigation named “Operação Lava Jato” or “Operation Car Wash” (after the network of laundromats and gas stations allegedly used to move illicit funds). Operation Car Wash investigates suspected bid rigging in contracts with Petrobras, Brazil’s state-owned energy company, and Electrobras, Brazil’s state-owned electric utilities company.
Much of the activity in Operation Car Wash in the second half of 2015 involved one construction company–Construções e Comércio Camargo Corrêa S.A (“Camargo Corrêa”). The developments in the General Superintendence’s investigation of Camargo Corrêa in July and August provide a useful example of the different types of cooperation arrangements available to entities under investigation by CADE. CADE uses three types of cooperation arrangements: (i) leniency agreements, (ii) leniency plus agreements, and (iii) cease-and-desist agreements (Termo de Compromissos de Cessação de Prática or “TCC”).
Leniency agreements are available to only the first company to admit its involvement in a cartel to CADE. Successful leniency applicants are granted immunity before CADE and–if the agreement is signed jointly with the Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office–immunity from criminal prosecution, provided that the applicants cease involvement in the misconduct, admit their wrongdoing, and cooperate fully. As reported in our 2015 Mid-Year Criminal Antitrust Update, Setal Group signed a leniency agreement with CADE’s General Superintendence and the Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office in connection with an Operation Car Wash investigation in Paraná in March.
The second type of agreement, leniency plus, is available to those applicants who do not qualify for immunity (because they are not the first to come forward), but who offer information concerning a separate collusion about which CADE had no prior knowledge. Those who receive leniency plus can obtain all the benefits of leniency in proceedings concerning the newly reported conduct and up to an additional one-third reduction in sanctions in the first investigation (beyond whatever reduction it obtained for its cooperation in that investigation). On July 31, 2015, Camargo Corrêa and some of its former employees signed a leniency plus agreement with CADE’s General Superintendence and the Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office in which Camargo Corrêa self-reported participation in bid rigging involving the Angra 3 power plant in Rio de Janeiro. CADE formally opened administrative proceedings with respect to the Angra 3 cartel conduct in Rio de Janeiro on November 19, 2015.
On August 19, Camargo Corrêa entered into the third type of cooperation arrangement with CADE–a TCC. A TCC is a cease-and-desist agreement available to companies who are not the first to come forward, but who are willing to admit their wrongdoing and cooperate with the authority. The first company to enter a TCC can obtain a reduction of thirty to fifty percent of its sanctions. Because Setal Group had already been granted leniency with respect to the Paraná matter, Camargo Corrêa availed itself of a TCC.
By signing a leniency plus agreement for the Angra 3 collusion in Rio de Janeiro and a TCC for the Paraná conduct, Camargo Corrêa was entitled to a sixty percent reduction in sanctions in the Paraná proceedings and full immunity in the Rio de Janeiro proceedings. Camargo Corrêa was ultimately fined BRL 104 million ($27.3 million) after the sixty percent reduction was applied. This fine is the highest ever established under a TCC.
The information acquired from Camargo Corrêa’s cooperation also formed part of the foundation for an administrative proceeding opened by CADE on December 22, 2015, into alleged collusion in public bids with Petrobras for engineering, construction, and onshore industrial assembly services. According to CADE, there is evidence that at least twenty-one companies and fifty-nine individuals engaged in price fixing, market sharing, and bid rigging.
2. Historic Fines Upheld in Cement Cartel Case
Our 2014 Year-End Criminal Antitrust Update examined in detail the historic sanctions imposed by CADE in May 2014 in a cement cartel case. CADE fined six companies, three industry associations, and six individuals a record BRL 3.1 billion ($1.3 billion) for their involvement. On July 29, 2015, CADE clarified its decision and modified one of the sanctions. CADE reduced the so-called “media obligation,” which required certain investigated parties, including a number of individuals, to file multiple advertisements in a variety of media outlets publicizing the decision. CADE modified this remedy to require only the companies to file, and to do so in only one leading newspaper, based on the fact that the decision was already greatly publicized and the requirement placed a considerable financial burden on the affected individuals. Notably, however, CADE upheld the record fines. CADE’s decisions are subject to judicial review, and an appeal is expected.
3. CADE Investigates Foreign Exchange Market
CADE’s General Superintendence continues to investigate alleged anticompetitive conduct involving foreign exchange rates, as reported in our 2015 Mid-Year Criminal Antitrust Update. On July 2, 2015, CADE’s General Superintendence announced that it had initiated proceedings against fifteen financial institutions and thirty individuals related to alleged collusion over exchange rates for local and foreign currencies. CADE disclosed the names of the thirty individuals being investigated, but did not release details as to the specific allegations against each of them.
4. New Cease-and-Desist Agreements (TCCs)
CADE continued to secure cease-and-desist agreements in the second half of 2015. On August 19, CADE signed a TCC (cease-and-desist agreement) which imposed BRL 10 million (approximately $2.5 million) in fines on a parking lot company and seven individuals that participated in collusion among parking lot operators in São Paulo.
On September 2, CADE’s Tribunal approved four cease-and-desist agreements in the following investigations: (i) dynamic random access memory (“DRAM”), (ii) liquefied petroleum gas (“LPG”), (iii) resins, and (iv) railway logistics services. CADE collected a total of approximately BRL 9.8 million (approximately $2.4 million) from these four settlements.
5. Proceedings before CADE’s Tribunal
A number of significant cases were decided by, or referred to, CADE’s Tribunal (CADE’s decision-making body) in the second half of 2015.
a. Decisions Rendered
In August, CADE fined an association of toy manufacturers and its president for allegedly holding a meeting with representatives of participant companies aimed at discussing price fixing and market division.
In September, CADE fined a union of automobile dealers and two of its top officials for suspected price fixing. The union was fined BRL 532,000 (approximately $132,000), the former president was fined BRL 319,200 ($82,000), and the vice president was fined BRL 266,000 (approximately $66,000). The same month, the Tribunal condemned six companies for allegedly participating in a bid-rigging scheme for solar heater contracts. The companies were fined a total of BRL 21.4 million (approximately $5.3 million). Also in September, CADE imposed a total of BRL 6.9 million (approximately $1.7 million) in fines on the Brazilian Association of Blood Banks and seven blood banks for their alleged participation in a blood bank cartel between 2002 and 2004 in the metropolitan region of Goiânia.
In November, CADE imposed a fine of BRL 532,000 (approximately $132,000) on the Sociedade Brasileira de Anestesiologia (“SBA”) for allegedly coordinating price fixing in the Brazilian anesthesia market.
b. Pending Cases
Since July 2015, CADE’s General Superintendence has referred various cases to CADE’s Tribunal. For example, in October, CADE’s General Superintendence recommended to the Tribunal that three companies, two cooperatives, a labor union, and ten individuals be convicted for their participation in a milk cartel. In November, CADE’s General Superintendence recommended to the Tribunal the conviction of four companies and seven individuals suspected of price fixing, customer allocation, and stifling technological innovations in the international cathode ray tubes (“CRT”) market.
CADE’s General Superintendence continued to use its authority to prosecute conduct that occurred more than a decade ago, a troubling practice previously reported in our 2014 Year-End Update Criminal Antitrust and Competition Law Update. In July, CADE’s General Superintendence recommended to its Tribunal the condemnation of a cartel in the international sodium perborate (a bleaching agent used in laundry detergents) market for conduct that occurred between 1998 and 2001.
In December, based on an investigation triggered by a leniency application, the General Superintendence recommended that its Tribunal sanction 11 companies that allegedly agreed to fix prices, rig bids, and geographically divide the market for gas-insulated switchgear–combined electrical disconnect switches used to control energy flow and protect electricity distribution grids in power plants–between 1988 and 2004. This appears to be a further example of CADE completing its investigations long after other competition authorities. For example, the European Commission concluded its investigation into the gas-insulated switchgear cartel in 2007 and fined several of its members EUR 750 million (approximately $1.01 billion).
6. New Investigations Initiated by CADE’s General Superintendence
The second half of 2015 also saw the initiation of several new investigations into allegedly collusive behavior. In 2015, CADE opened seven new investigations in the auto parts industry. Four of these probes were discussed in the 2015 Mid-Year Criminal Antitrust and Competition Law Update, including investigations related to clutch facings, windshield wipers, thermal systems, and safety devices. Since the mid-year update, CADE has opened three new investigations into suspected price fixing and market allocation in the auto parts industry. On September 28, 2015, the General Superintendence opened an investigation regarding the car bumpers market. On November 11, 2015, CADE announced the initiation of an investigation into ten wire harness and electrical component companies. According to publicly available sources, this investigation marked the sixth auto parts probe this year and the eighth investigation in the industry since 2014. Then, on December 21, 2015, the General Superintendence opened an investigation into potential collusion in the clay substrates market. Clay substrates are a component of catalysts in car exhaust systems. CADE has also reported that there have been dawn raids that could result in administrative proceedings in the following auto parts industries: lighting (headlights, flashlights, and brake lights); emergency switches (hazard lights and turn signals); access mechanisms (cylinders set, handles, and locks); and clutches.
In November, CADE worked with police and prosecutors in the so-called “Operação Dubai” or “Operation Dubai,” to conduct forty-two raids of homes and offices in Brasilia and Rio de Janeiro in connection with a suspected fuel cartel. According to publicly available sources, of the cartel cases decided by CADE between October 1999 and October 2014, one quarter were linked to the fuel industry.
CADE also initiated investigations into suspected cartels in the following industries in the second half of 2015: (i) refractory ceramic rollers, (ii) computer equipment and materials, (iii) gas stations and fuel distributors, (iv) hydrometers (devices used by residential consumers to measure water), and (v) certain implantable medical devices (orthoses and prostheses).
7. CADE Hosts Bid Rigging Seminar with OECD
On November, 3, 2015, CADE hosted a seminar with the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (“OECD”) titled “OECD-CADE Competition Summit: Public Procurement & Fighting Bid Rigging.” In the opening panel, CADE’s President, Vinicius Marques de Carvalho, stated that fighting cartels in public procurement is a priority for CADE and explained that CADE must have the support of other Brazilian governmental bodies to fight these cartels across the country. Also in the opening panel, Angel Gurría, OECD’s Secretary General, remarked that combating bid rigging in public procurement is particularly relevant in a struggling Brazilian economy, because public bids generate large expenses for the government. There was also a panel on international best practices in fighting bid rigging in public procurement and a panel on Brazil’s experiences fighting these cartels.
8. CADE Publishes Two New Guidelines Documents
CADE also published two important guidelines documents in the second half of 2015.
First, on August 19, it released a preliminary version of its Guidelines for Competition Compliance Programs. These guidelines are intended to be used by companies to create an internal compliance program that will prevent competition law violations or, if they do occur, detect them more quickly. CADE accepted comments on the document until October 18. The final guidelines have not yet been published. Companies are not required to implement a compliance program based on the guidelines but CADE announced that it might consider the implementation of a compliance program as evidence of good faith and a mitigating factor when calculating a fine. According to the preliminary guidelines, the burden of proof will be on the company to prove a program’s effectiveness and robustness.
Second, on November 11, CADE released a preliminary version of Frequently Asked Questions (“FAQs”) regarding its Leniency Program for public comment. The goal of the document is to strengthen and expand Brazil’s Leniency Program and provide enhanced transparency and predictability in relation to leniency agreements. According to CADE, the FAQs are not binding on the authority, but will instead serve as a reference in negotiating leniency agreements. CADE will accept comments on the preliminary version until January 10, 2016. When it published the FAQs, CADE also announced its intention to amend its internal regulations. The proposed amendments to the regulations aim to clarify important aspects of CADE’s practices identified during the drafting of the FAQs. The proposed amendments include the regulation of leniency plus, as well as the reconsideration of certain internal deadlines which would allow the negotiation of leniency agreements to be quicker and better monitored.
The second half of 2015 saw Chilean courts hand antitrust defendants one significant loss and one large victory. First, in late July 2015, the Fourth Criminal Court of Santiago threw out criminal charges against 10 individuals who allegedly participated in price fixing in the pharmaceutical industry. The public prosecutor had filed the criminal case in 2011, charging 10 individuals–former and current employees at Framacias Ahumada, Cruz Verde, and Salcobrand pharmacies–with fraudulently modifying the natural price of goods. These charges followed an investigation by Chile’s National Economic Prosecutor (“FNE”) that found the country’s leading pharmacy chains fixed the prices of more than 200 drugs between December 2007 and March 2008, resulting in administrative fines. But the Public Prosecutor’s criminal prosecution unraveled this past July when a majority of the Fourth Criminal Court found that the 10 defendants did not explicitly deceive customers, and therefore did not act fraudulently. One judge dissented, arguing that the evidence showed that four of the 10 defendants should be punished for acting fraudulently. The Court’s decision came as Chile weighs whether to re-impose criminal liability for certain antitrust activity; in early 2015 the country’s president signed a draft bill that would re-introduce criminal penalties for price fixing and bid rigging.
Then on October 29, 2015, the Chilean Supreme Court affirmed a decision by the Chilean Competition Tribunal (“TDLC”) to impose the maximum fine of $25 million in a case involving a market-sharing agreement among three poultry companies. As reported in the 2014 Year-End Criminal Antitrust and Competition Law Update, the TDLC in September 2014 upheld the imposition of the maximum fine against both Agrosuper and Ariztía, as well as a lesser fine of $10 million against Agrícola Don Pollo Limitada. Together, the three companies represented 80 percent of Chile’s poultry meat market. The Chilean Supreme Court has now weighed in on the case, and in upholding the fines against these three companies, the Court found that a cartel existed to allocate market share and limit the production of meat for the local market. The Chilean Supreme Court also upheld the TDLC’s dissolution of the Poultry Producers Trade Association (“APA”), which was found to have coordinated the cartel.
On the enforcement side, the FNE announced charges in what the prosecutor called one of the largest cartels uncovered in Chile to date. In October 2015, the FNE filed a formal complaint against two tissue product manufacturers, CMPC Tissue and SCA Chile. Together, the two companies account for nearly 90 percent of tissue paper products sales in Chile. The FNE launched an investigation into the alleged cartel in December 2014, and “discovered a ‘series of mechanisms’ designed to cover up collusion between 2001 and 2011,” including email correspondence with fictitious accounts and the destruction of laptops. CMPC Tissue filed a leniency application in March 2015, and SCA Chile followed suit in September. The FNE asked the specialist antitrust court to give CMPC Tissue complete immunity because of its status as the first leniency applicant, and a reduced fine of $15.5 million for SCA Chile because of its leniency application.
Colombia has continued to intensify its anti-cartel enforcement efforts in the latter half of 2015.
On July 16, 2015, the Colombian Ministry of Commerce, Industry, and Tourism promulgated a new set of regulations amending the leniency program of the Colombian Competition Authority, the Superintendencia de Industria y Comercio (“SIC”). Under the amended regulations, petitioners will have only 20 days from the formal launching of an investigation to self-report their cartel activities and reap the benefits of the leniency program. Prior to the amendments, an application for leniency could be submitted up until the very end of the investigation. The new regulations also impact fine reductions for petitioners who seek leniency after the first applicant has already come forward; second-coming petitioners will receive a 50% fine reduction (as opposed to 70% under the old regulations), and all other late-coming petitioners will receive only a 25% reduction (as opposed to 50% for the third petitioner, and 30% for all others, under the old regulations). The new regulations also permit the provision of an additional 15% reduction under the new leniency plus program, if the information provided by the petitioner could serve as the basis for offering first-in-line leniency benefits in connection with a separate and distinct criminal antitrust investigation. The amended regulations also open the door, with respect to leniency, to individuals who engaged in unilateral conduct. Finally, the amended regulations provide greater transparency regarding the program’s eligibility requirements by narrowing the scope of conduct that may disqualify an applicant from the leniency program if it acted as an “instigator.”
As noted and discussed in the 2015 Mid-Year Criminal Antitrust and Competition Law Update, the SIC completed a five-year investigation into Colombia’s sugar industry on May 29, 2015. On October 7, 2015 the SIC imposed a record fine on the 12 sugar mills, 2 trading companies, a trade association, and 14 officers of the implicated companies that were named in the investigation. The fined parties were charged with blocking the sale of sugar imports into Colombia from Bolivia, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Costa Rica. The fines total COP $324.4 billion (approximately $108 million). Several Colombian congressmen have expressed concern regarding the impact of the steep fines levied against the alleged sugar cartel participants, and the companies are expected to appeal.
The SIC has also recently alleged collusion in other household products, including notebooks, diapers, and toilet paper. The media has increased its focus on the SIC’s recent anti-cartel enforcement efforts due in part to Colombia’s growing economy and its continuing wealth inequality. The SIC has also gained attention due to the introduction of amendments to Colombia’s antitrust laws and prominent superintendent, Pablo Felipe Robledo. Included in the pending legislation are provisions that would augment the privacy protections for leniency applicants, thereby encouraging more to come forward, while limiting the ability of private citizens to use the self-reported information in class action lawsuits.
Pablo Felipe Robledo recently warned the government contracting industry that the officers of companies seeking public contracts can face jail time, in addition to fines, if they violate Colombia’s anti-corruption laws. In a move that also garnered headlines in Colombia, the SIC recently seized the personal bank accounts of the mayor of Bogotá, Gustavo Petro, for his alleged role in a scheme to illicitly award garbage collection contracts in contravention of Colombia’s competition laws.
On November 19, 2015, Ecuador’s competition authority, the Superintendencia de Control del Poder de Mercado (“SCPM”), by resolution, issued instructions for managing and implementing “commitments to cease,” or formal commitments by traders to cease anticompetitive activity. These instructions also provide a new regulatory framework for calculating damages for those who have violated the Organic Law for the Regulation and Control of Market Power.
G. EL SALVADOR
On July 7, 2015, the Superintendencia de Competencia (“SC”) announced that its preliminary investigation into potential anticompetitive practices by six red bean producers did not uncover evidence sufficient to warrant further investigation. The investigation did confirm an upward trend in the price of red beans among the six investigated producers, but the price increases were imposed individually and differed in magnitude. The SC’s initial hypothesis that price increases resulted from unlawful collusion was further weakened by the fact that neighboring countries, including Nicaragua and Honduras, experienced similar price increases.
In August, Honduras’ competition authority, the Commission for the Defense and Promotion of Competition (“Comisión para la Defensa y Promoción de la Competencia” or “CDPC”), organized a forum about competition and food security. The forum included speakers from several jurisdictions and international organizations. For instance, Molly Askin, the FTC’s Deputy Director for International Antirust spoke about the barriers that affect competition in the food sector markets in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. In addition, Tanja Goodwin, an economist from the World Bank Group, spoke about the World Bank’s experiences in helping countries adopt leniency programs as a tool to promote competition. At the forum, the legal director of CDPC officially presented Honduras’ leniency program, the implementation of which was forecasted in our 2015 Mid-Year Criminal Antitrust and Competition Law Update.
Also in August, CDPC ordered a chemical pharmacists association to stop enforcing rules that required minimum distances between pharmacies, which effectively created local monopolies. The pharmacists association is required to correct its restraints on trade within a year and provide a report after six months explaining the steps it has taken to comply with CDPC’s ruling.
This fall, the World Economic Forum released its Global Competitiveness Report for 2015. The report assigns rankings for the competitiveness performance of 144 economies. Countries with the lowest rankings have the highest level of competitiveness. The 2015 report concluded that Honduras was the country in Central America that most improved its competitiveness. In 2013, Honduras was ranked 111 out of 144 countries in competitiveness; in 2014, it was ranked 100; and in 2015, it improved its rank another 12 positions to 88.
As reported in our 2014 Year-End Criminal Antitrust and Competition Law Update, and in the 2015 Mid-Year Criminal Antitrust and Competition Law Update, Mexico amended its criminal code in 2014 to strengthen the independence of the Mexican Federal Economic Competition Commission (“COFECE”), and to give COFECE new tools to improve the efficacy of the agency’s enforcement efforts. COFECE has begun to utilize its new powers by launching both formal and voluntary investigations into key sectors of the Mexican economy. In particular, COFECE has focused on the financial sector, where the regulator issued non-binding recommendations and formally investigated the credit rating and processing industry.
In July 2015, COFECE found that seven bus companies had colluded to fix prices and limit service in poorer regions of Mexico. COFECE found that the companies overcharged consumers at least 43.8 million pesos (approximately $2.5 million). However, the companies were fined only 26.6 million pesos (approximately $1.6 million); according to COFECE, the fines were calculated to be commensurate with the companies’ financial means, and COFECE agreed to fine reductions for certain violators based on other mitigating circumstances.
Notwithstanding this year’s enforcement activity, recent events have demonstrated the limits of COFECE’s newfound authority. COFECE dropped an investigation into the cathode ray tube industry, despite the help of a leniency program applicant who reported wrongdoing to the authority. Ultimately, COFECE was unable to obtain enough additional corroborating evidence to move forward with its prosecution. Samsung and Technicolor were reportedly among the companies being investigated.
On November 17, 2015, Uruguay’s competition authority, the Comisión de Promoción y Defensa de la Competencia (“CPDC”) announced that it was beginning a preparatory study on the tissue paper market that would cover products such as toilet paper, paper towels, disposable napkins, and facial tissue. The CPDC initiated this study in response to information about possible collusion in the tissue paper market.
A. EUROPEAN COMMISSION
Compared to recent years, the European Commission (“Commission”) imposed few fines in 2015, although many investigations remain ongoing. In addition to the three fining decisions reported in the 2015 Mid-Year Criminal Antitrust and Competition Law Update, the European Commission adopted two further decisions, imposing fines on seven additional companies, bringing the total fines imposed during the course of 2015 to EUR 365 million (approximately $391 million).
(*Pursuant to the Commission’s methodology, the figures above do not take into account subsequent rulings of the European Courts adjusting the levels of fine.)
a. Blocktrain Cargo Services
On July 15, 2015, the Commission imposed fines totaling EUR 49.15 million (approximately $52.7 million) on a cartel between three companies providing cargo blocktrain services in Europe. Blocktrain services are rail shipping systems that transport cargo between hubs without splitting up or storing cargo wagons. Over the course of eight years, between 2004 and 2012, Express Interfracht (a subsidiary of Austrian rail incumbent OBB), Schenker (a subsidiary of Germany rail incumbent DB) and Kühne+Nagel (Switzerland) fixed prices, allocated customers, and shared confidential information for their “Balkantrain” and “Soptrain” blocktrain services.
Kühne+Nagel received full immunity from fines under the EU’s leniency program for self-reporting the violation to the Commission. Both Express Interfracht and Schenker received fine reductions for their cooperation during the investigation. Express Interfracht was fined EUR 17.36 million (approximately $18.6 million); Schenker was fined EUR 31.8 million (approximately $34.1 million). The three participants also settled the case with the Commission, resulting in further fine reductions of 10 percent in exchange for acknowledging their participation in a cartel and accepting liability.
b. Optical Disk Drives
On October 21, 2015, the Commission imposed fines totaling EUR 116 million (approximately $124.5 million) on eight suppliers of optical disc drives for collusion relating to procurement tenders for optical disc drives for laptops and desktops issued by Dell and Hewlett-Packard. Optical disc drives read or record data stored on CDs, DVDs and other optical disks which are used in computers, CD/DVD players and video game consoles. According to the Commission’s fining decision, Hitachi-LG Data Storage, Toshiba Samsung Storage Technology, Sony, Sony Optiarc and Quanta Storage, Philips, Lite-On, and their joint venture, Philips & Lite-On Digital Solutions, operated a cartel between June 2004 and November 2008, under which they exchanged their future intentions regarding bids and bidding strategies, the results of procurement tenders, and other commercially sensitive information. They were also charged with organizing a network of bilateral contacts to exclude aggressive competition in procurement tenders issued by Dell and Hewlett-Packard. The Commission noted that the cartel contacts themselves did not take place in the European Economic Area, but were implemented on a worldwide basis. Philips, Lite-On, and their joint venture received full immunity from fines under the Commission’s Leniency Notice for revealing the existence of the cartel.
2. Ongoing Investigations
As reported in our 2015 Mid-Year Update, during the first half of the year the Commission continued its investigation into the pricing of oil and biofuels by conducting unannounced inspections (dawn raids) in April 2015. In May 2015, the Commission also conducted dawn raids on a number of electronics retailers and manufacturers as part of its broader Digital Single Market inquiry.
The second half of 2015 has continued to see significant developments under new Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, including continued developments in the Digital Single Market inquiry and the opening of new formal investigations.
a. E-Commerce Sector Inquiry
On May 6, 2015 the Commission launched the Digital Single Market inquiry in the context of the EU’s Digital Single Market Strategy. A sector inquiry allows the Commission to examine the functioning of a particular sector of the economy where the level of trade between Member States, rigidity of prices, or other circumstances suggest that competition is distorted. If the Commission identifies specific concerns, it can open individual investigations into specific companies. A sector inquiry may also eventually result in new legislative proposals.
Throughout the second half of 2015, the Commission has moved forward in its sector inquiry into e-commerce by sending its questionnaires and requests for information to manufacturers, wholesale distributors, and retailers active in a variety of sectors (including clothing, digital content, cosmetics, and care products, etc.).
The Commission is concerned that while 50 percent of the EU population shops online, only 15 percent of the population does so across national borders. The inquiry is focusing on the barriers to cross-border online trade in goods and services, and will examine a variety of issues, from contractual restrictions, “geo-blocking,” redirecting shoppers to their “home” website, language restrictions, payment facilities, licensing, legislative differences, and other regulatory barriers. The Commission’s preliminary findings are tentatively scheduled to be released in mid-2016.
b. Bioethanol Benchmarking
On December 7, 2015, the Commission opened a formal investigation into the biofuels sector, including ethanol producers Abengoa S.A. of Spain, Alcogroup SA of Belgium, and Lantmännen ek för of Sweden, together with their relevant subsidiaries.
As noted in our 2014 Mid-Year and Year-End Updates, and in our 2015 Mid-Year Update, the Commission has been engaged in an investigation into the pricing of oil and biofuels since 2013. More recently, on April 21, 2015, the Commission confirmed that it had undertaken dawn raids at the premises of more undertakings.
The Commission is investigating the possibility that the companies manipulated ethanol benchmarks published by price reporting agency, Platts. The Commission suspects that the companies might have colluded by agreeing to submit or support bids to drive up benchmarks and ethanol prices.
c. Electrolytic Capacitors
On November 4, 2015, the Commission sent a Statement of Objections to 10 Asian manufacturers of electrolytic capacitors for their alleged participation in a cartel running from at least 1997 to 2014. According to the Commission, the 10 companies allegedly participated in a range of multilateral meetings in Japan to discuss future market trends, prices, and specific customer information. These meetings were purportedly supplemented with additional bilateral or trilateral discussions between the companies, which the Commission alleges occurred in breach of EU antitrust rules. The companies have the opportunity to respond to the allegations before the Commission takes a final decision.
d. Passenger-Rail Sector
On December 2, 2015, it became public that the Commission had conducted antitrust dawn raids into Austrian railway service provider Österreichische Bundesbahnen (ÖBB). According to a press statement made by ÖBB, the Commission’s dawn raids focused on certain legal disputes with private railway company WESTbahn, including non-discriminatory access to routes and price levels. In addition to ÖBB, the Commission investigation purportedly involves associations VOR, OÖ, and Sbg.
3. Investigations Partly or Wholly Closed
Action by the Commission under Commissioner Vestager during 2015 also includes the partial or full closure of ongoing investigations that were initiated in previous years.
a. CDS Information Market
The CDS Information Market case is the most notable closure, with the Commission abandoning its allegations against a significant number of parties against whom the Commission had previously formulated specific charges.
In 2013, following a three-year investigation, the Commission issued a Statement of Objections to Markit, ISDA, and 13 banks alleging that they had colluded to prevent exchanges from entering the credit derivatives business between 2006 and 2009. During 2014, the parties responded in writing to the Commission’s allegations and participated in an oral hearing.
On December 4, 2015, more than two years after issuing the Statement of Objections, the Commission decided to close its antitrust proceedings against the 13 investment banks involved in the CDS Information Market investigation, since “the evidence was not sufficiently conclusive to confirm the Commission’s concerns” in relation to these entities. The Commission is still pursuing its investigation regarding Markit and ISDA, and will also continue monitoring the practices of investment banks in financial markets.
b. Cement Investigation
On July 31, 2015, the Commission also announced the closure of its proceedings against a number of companies active in the cement sector.
The Commission had formally opened the Cement investigation on December 10, 2010, following a series of dawn raids conducted in November 2008 and September 2009. The investigation covered the activities of several cement manufacturers in a numerous Member States (e.g., Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Italy, Luxembourg, The Netherlands, Spain, and the UK). According to the Commission, there were indications that the companies concerned had acted to restrict trade flows in the European Economic Area (“EEA”), including restrictions of imports into the EEA from countries outside the EEA, market sharing, price coordination, and connected anticompetitive practices in the markets for cement and related products. However, according to press reports, in July 2015, the Commission announced that “the evidence obtained in the Commission’s investigation was not sufficiently conclusive to confirm these initial concerns. The Commission will continue to monitor closely developments in the European cement markets.”
c. Oil Benchmarking
As noted above, since 2013 the Commission had been investigating the pricing of oil and biofuels. The oil companies involved in the investigation were BP, Statoil and Royal Dutch Shell, and the Commission had also sought information from Glencore and Eni. While on December 7, 2015, the Commission decided to open its investigation into the biofuels sector (see above), press reports indicate that the Commission has dropped its investigation into price benchmarks for the crude oil sector.
B. SIGNIFICANT RULINGS BY THE EUROPEAN COURTS
While the Commission did not impose many fines in 2015, the European courts have been particularly active. Following a very busy first half of the year, the courts took a number of significant decisions in the second half of 2015.
1. Pre-Stressing Steel
On June 30, 2010, the Commission imposed fines on a large number of companies for their alleged participation in a cartel in the pre-stressing steel industry starting in the 1980s and ending in 2002. Between 2010 and 2014, a number of actions were brought before the EU General Court seeking a reduction in the fines. The General Court dismissed the majority of the actions but granted fine reductions in the following cases:
Ori Martin. The General Court reduced the part of the fine imposed on Ori Martin relating to the behavior of its subsidiary SLM from EUR 14 million to EUR 13.3 million ($15.6 million to $14.8 million). According to the General Court, the Commission had erroneously taken into account the value of sales achieved by SLM in countries that were not covered by the cartel arrangements.
Austria Draht. In relation to the fine imposed jointly and severally on voestalpine Austria and voestalpine Austria Draht, the General Court held that voestalpine Austria Draht should not have been found to have participated in the main cartel arrangements. In addition, while it had been correctly found to have participated in the Italian part of the cartel, it could not be held liable for the conduct of its commercial agent outside the Italian market because the agent’s authority was limited to Italy. The General Court reduced the fine from EUR 22 million to EUR 7.5 million ($24.5 million to $8.3 million) for both companies.
WDI. In WDI v. Commission, the General Court considered the applicability of the “inability to pay” defense to a fine. It indicated that, when the Commission was ascertaining whether three of the companies could pay the fines being imposed, the Commission should have taken into consideration the evolution of the companies’ economic and financial position. However, the General Court concluded that the three companies were actually capable of paying and thus upheld the fines.
2. Cathode Ray Tubes
On December 5, 2012, the Commission imposed fines amounting to EUR 1.47 billion ($1.38 billion) on seven entities for participation in two cartels relating to cathode ray tubes (“CRTs”), used in the production of a computer monitors or color televisions, between 1996 and 2006. Five entities and their subsidiaries involved brought actions for annulment before the General Court.
On September 9, 2015, the General Court rejected in their entirety appeals brought by Samsung, LG Electronics, and Philips. However, it accepted certain arguments raised by Panasonic, Toshiba, and MT Picture Display Company (“MTPD”) (a joint venture formed by the prior companies). The court held that the Commission had departed from its Guidelines without justification when it rejected figures that more accurately reflected the value of sales affected by the cartel. The fines imposed on Panasonic were therefore reduced from EUR 157.5 million to EUR 128.9 million ($175.4 million to $143.5 million). The fines imposed jointly and severally on Panasonic and MTPD were reduced from EUR 7.9 million to EUR 7.5 million ($8.8 million to $8.3 million) and the fines imposed jointly and severally on Panasonic, Toshiba, and MTPD were reduced from EUR 86.7 million to EUR 82.8 million ($96.5 million to $92.2 million). In addition, the court annulled in its entirety the decision insofar as it imposed a fine on Toshiba for its alleged direct participation in the cartel because Toshiba’s participation had not been established to the requisite standard of proof.
The Commission has stated that it welcomes the judgment, as it confirms the Commission’s right to sanction cartels that concern products made from components of foreign origin that are not themselves sold within the EEA, and also confirms that parent companies are liable for illegal anticompetitive behavior of joint ventures irrespective of the ownership shares.
3. Total France
On October 1, 2008, the Commission found that Total and its subsidiary Total France, together with other entities, had participated in a cartel in the EEA paraffin wax market from 1992 to 2005 and in the German slack market from 1997 to 2004. Total appealed the decision. On September 13, 2013, the General Court dismissed Total’s application to annul the decision. However, it reduced the fine imposed on Total France based on its finding that Total France’s participation in the cartel was of shorter duration than the Commission had found. The General Court’s decision was appealed.
On September 17, 2015, the EU Court of Justice dismissed Total France’s appeal but upheld in part Total’s appeal. It held that the General Court should have granted Total the same reduction in fine as its subsidiary. According to the Court of Justice, “in a situation where the liability of a parent company is purely derivative of that of its subsidiary and in which no other factor individually reflects the conduct for which the parent company is held liable, the liability of that parent company cannot exceed that of its subsidiary.”
4. Heating Stabilizers
On October 22, 2015, the EU Court of Justice upheld a February 2014 judgment of the General Court confirming the Commission’s decision that AC Treuhand, a consultancy firm, had breached EU law by facilitating two cartels in the heating stabilizer industry. According to the Court of Justice, it cannot be inferred that the terms of Article 101 TFEU “‘agreement’ and ‘concerted practice’ presuppose a mutual restriction of freedom of action on one and the same market on which all the parties are present.” On the contrary, anticompetitive agreements may breach Article 101 of the TFEU, even if the parties to the agreement do not operate on the same market. The Commission welcomed the ruling of the Court of Justice, stressing that the effectiveness of Article 101 TFEU would have been jeopardized if facilitators were, in and of themselves, exempt from liability.
5. Air Cargo
On December 16, 2015, the General Court annulled in their entirety fines amounting to a total of EUR 790 million (approximately $848 million) that were imposed by the Commission in November 2010 on 11 air carriers for their participation in a cartel fixing fuel surcharges and security fees for air cargo transportation. The General Court found a contradiction between the grounds set out in the Commission’s decision and its operative part. Whereas in the former, the Commission had described a single cartel, constituting a single and continuous infringement regarding all the routes covered by the cartel in which all carriers took part, the operative part referred to either four separate infringements or one single and continuous infringement with liability attributed differently to the carriers. The General Court held that the operative part of a decision finding an infringement must be particularly clear and precise, since the entities concerned (as well as the national courts of the Member States of the EU (which are bound by the operative part of the decision)) must be in a position to understand the decision. The decision at issue did not meet this requirement.
6. ING Pensii
On July 16, 2015, the EU Court of Justice provided guidance on the requirements for an agreement to amount to an infringement of Article 101 TFEU. On September 7, 2010, the Consiliul Concurentei (Romanian Competition Authority) imposed fines on the pension fund ING Pensii, a subsidiary of financial services institution ING, and 13 other pension funds for participating in a cartel. Following an action brought by ING before a Romanian lower court, Romania’s Supreme Court requested guidance from the EU Court of Justice on the interpretation of Article 101 TFEU. The EU Court of Justice held that Article 101 TFEU must be interpreted as meaning that agreements to share clients, such as those concluded between the private pensions funds in the main proceedings, constitute agreements with an anticompetitive object because “the number of clients affected by such an agreement being irrelevant for the purpose of assessing the requirement relating to the restriction of competition within the internal market.”
C. LEGISLATIVE DEVELOPMENTS: PROCEDURAL HARMONIZATION REGARDING DAMAGES ACTIONS
On July 3, 2015, the Commission announced the introduction of a series of amendments to primary legislation and a range of “soft law” guidance notes in relation to its competition law procedures to ensure the smooth functioning of Directive 2014/104/EU on Antitrust Damages Actions (the “Damages Directive”), due to be implemented into national law in 2016 across the European Union.
The amendments, which became effective on August 4, 2015, affect Regulation 773/2004 and four related Notices (on Access to the File, Leniency, Settlements, and Cooperation with national courts). The changes concern the access to and use of information in the Commission’s case file. Their aim is to protect leniency corporate statements and settlement submissions from being disclosed in damages actions proceedings brought before national courts.
For further detail on the amended rules, see our client alert, European Commission Adopts Changes to Its Antitrust Procedural Rules to Harmonize with Damages Directive.
D. EU MEMBER STATES
The second half of 2015 saw a number of enforcement actions concerning anticompetitive vertical agreements in Austria. On September 9, 2015, the Austrian Cartel Court imposed a fine of EUR 1.05 million (approximately $1.13 million) on Samsung Electronics Austria GmbH for vertical resale price maintenance with Austrian online retailers of electronic products. To date, seven companies in the Austrian online electronic business have been sentenced by the Cartel Court. Total fines in this sector have now reached EUR 6.222 million (approximately $6.68 million).
On October 8, 2015, Austria’s Upper Cartel Court upheld a decision of the Cartel Court against SPAR, a leading Austrian food retailer, concerning collusion on resale prices (resale price maintenance) with suppliers of dairy products. Notably, the Upper Cartel court increased the fine imposed by the Cartel Court from EUR 3 million (approximately $3.22 million) to EUR 30 million (approximately $32.2 million) because the original amount would not have had a sufficient deterrent effect.
2. CZECH REPUBLIC
On November 6, 2015, the Czech Office for the Protection of Competition announced that it had imposed fines totaling CZK 2.036 billion (approximately $81 million) on several construction companies for illegal bid rigging. According to publicly-available information, the Competition Office found approximately 20 construction firms in the Czech Republic guilty of illegal bid rigging in relation to a number of highway construction contracts between 2006 and 2008. The conduct involved bid-rotation schemes and the use of “cover” bids. The bid-rigging practices had the effect of inflating the final price of the public contracts.
On September 30, 2015, the Danish Competition Appeals Tribunal (CAT) upheld a June 2014 decision of the Danish Competition Council (DCC) that Lely Nordic (formerly Lely Scandinavia) and four Lely franchisees had agreed to fix prices and share markets in the markets for robotic milking systems, maintenance and repairs of robotic milking systems, and spare parts and accessories used in robotic milking systems. The CAT found that the franchisees were competitors in the relevant markets and that they had reached a prohibited “horizontal” agreement regarding. The CAT stated that the fact that certain emails only referred to “consultative” or “recommended” prices could not change this conclusion. Regarding the role of Lely Nordic, the CAT found that because the company as a franchisor had played an active role and had a direct financial interest in the anticompetitive agreements, it was jointly responsible for the horizontal agreements. The CAT further stated that Lely Nordic’s arrangements were not, in the circumstances, covered by the block exemption for vertical agreements.
The French Competition Authority (“Autorité”) was very active in the second half of 2015 and imposed significant fines. The total amount of the financial penalties imposed by the Autorité for 2015 exceeds EUR 1.2 billion (approximately $1.31 billion), eclipsing the 2014 record.
The Autorité opened several investigations into alleged anticompetitive practices in 2015. While some are still ongoing, several have resulted in commitments from the companies involved. For instance, on November 30, 2015, the Autorité fined SFR and SRR, its subsidiary in La Réunion and Mayotte, a total of EUR 10.7 million (approximately $11.7 million) for unfair pricing practices in the mobile telephony market aimed at professional clients. The Autorité found that SFR and its subsidiary had charged customers making calls to competitor networks higher prices than those making calls on the SRR network. These serious anticompetitive practices affected nearly all small and medium-sized companies. In a prior decision issued in 2014, the Autorité had already fined SFR and SRR almost EUR 46 million (approximately $50.2 million) for the same practices aimed at household customers. However, the Autorité did not find that the latest infringement involved recidivism. Further, despite the seriousness of the breach and the financial power of SFR, the Autorité took into consideration the limited damage to the economy, and it also reduced the financial penalty by 10 percent for non-contestation of the facts.
On December 15, 2015, the Autorité fined 20 delivery service companies and the professional trade union a total of EUR 672.3 million (approximately $732.1 million) for repeated coordination between 2004 and 2010 relating to annual price increases. The Autorité found that “[r]ound table discussions were regularly organized . . . enabling the companies to harmonise their pricing demands and secure their business negotiations. The discussions were kept secret with no official minutes being taken.” In addition, the Autorité found that some of the parties had bilateral or multilateral exchanges to ensure that they passed increases in the price of diesel on to clients (a large majority of which were small and medium-sized enterprises). In calculating the penalties, the Autorité took into account the duration of the practices, their seriousness and the harm caused to the economy. The Autorité also took into account the leniency applications (the case had been brought to its attention through the leniency procedure) and the fact that the charges were not challenged. Finally, as a result of financial difficulties, six companies benefited from a reduction in fine of more than 90 percent.
The German antitrust watchdog (the “Bundeskartellamt”) was very active in 2015, as evidenced by the 18 dawn raids it carried out on 88 companies with the assistance of the criminal investigation departments and public prosecutors. In 2015, the Bundeskartellamt also imposed fines on 37 companies and 24 individuals totaling approximately EUR 190 million (approximately $207 million) in 11 cases; while significant, these fines fell well short of the record fines imposed in 2014 that exceeded EUR 1 billion (approximately $1.01 billion). The Bundeskartellamt’s proceedings this year concerned multiple markets, including auto parts, mattresses, container transport services and prefabricated garages. Fines were also imposed in a so-called “vertical” case concerning agreements between food manufacturers and food retailers.
In December 2015, the Bundeskartellamt concluded proceedings against manufacturers of acoustically effective components for cars by imposing a fine on HP Pelzer Holding GmbH, Witten. In setting the fine, the Bundeskartellamt considered the fact that HP Pelzer Holding GmbH had cooperated with the authority and a settlement was reached. Earlier in 2015, fines had already been imposed on Autoneum Germany GmbH, Roßdorf, Carcoustics International GmbH, Leverkusen, Greiner Perfoam GmbH, Wangen, Ideal Automotive GmbH, Burgebrach, and the International Automotive Components Group GmbH, Düsseldorf. In accordance with the authority’s leniency program, no fine was imposed on Johann Borgers GmbH, Bocholt, which was the first company to cooperate with the Bundeskartellamt. The Bundeskartellamt found that the manufacturers had concluded agreements for components supplied to the automotive industry. The products involved were acoustically effective components, including flooring, car mats, hat racks, trunk trims, textile wheel house shells, engine compartment insulations, front shock absorbers, and trunk shock absorbers. In total, the fines imposed in this case, including earlier fines on five companies, amount to around EUR 90 million (approximately $98 million). This was also the first proceeding to result in fines following an anonymous notification to the Bundeskartellamt’s electronic whistle-blowing system. Following the anonymous tip-off, the Bundeskartellamt conducted dawn raids in May and September 2013.
Also in December, the Bundeskartellamt imposed fines amounting to EUR 12.44 million (approximately $13.6 million) on three publishers of advertising newspapers and persons responsible in the Dresden and Chemnitz region. The companies were found to have concluded illegal agreements to close advertising newspapers that competed with one another. According to the findings of the Bundeskartellamt, the agreement was initiated during a meeting at Leipzig Airport in April 2013. The Bundeskartellamt’s investigations were triggered by a tip-off. In June 2015, the Bundeskartellamt carried out dawn raids at locations of the three companies. All of the companies and individuals responsible agreed to settle. The three companies cooperated with the Bundeskartellamt in investigating the facts of the case and were granted a reduction in fines.
In October, the Bundeskartellamt fined Tempur Deutschland GmbH, Steinhagen, EUR 15.5 million (approximately $16.9 million) for imposing resale price maintenance on retailers. In setting the fine, the Bundeskartellamt considered the fact that Tempur Deutschland GmbH had cooperated and agreed to settle. This decision concluded the proceedings against mattress manufacturers. After evaluating the evidence the Bundeskartellamt terminated the proceedings against two other manufacturers, two purchasing cooperatives, and one online retailer for discretionary reasons. The proceeding was initiated in response to complaints within the market, following which the Bundeskartellamt conducted a dawn raid in August 2011 at several companies in the sector. In August 2014 and February 2015 fines were also imposed on Recticel Schlafkomfort GmbH and Metzeler Schaum GmbH for resale price maintenance.
In August, the Bundeskartellamt imposed fines totaling approximately EUR 4.56 million (approximately $5 million) on seven companies, the persons responsible within these companies, and an association of companies, based on concerted practices concerning container transport services provided in the area of the German seaports of Hamburg, Bremen, and Bremerhaven. According to the Bundeskartellamt, agreements regarding the concerted practices were reached in the context of the association’s general meetings as well as in other communications between the association members. Not all of the member companies participated in all aspects of the violation or for the whole duration of the infringement. The Bundeskartellamt initiated investigations after the association members had announced in a joint statement in April 2014 that they intended to introduce a “Hamburg traffic congestion surcharge.” Several companies cooperated with the Bundeskartellamt and were granted a reduction in fines in line with the authority’s leniency program.
In July, the Bundeskartellamt imposed fines totaling EUR 1.3 million (approximately $1.4 million) on three suppliers to the Bundeswehr (German Federal Armed Forces) of rubber track pads and vibration dampers for military vehicles. The companies involved are GMT Gummi-Metall-Technik GmbH, Bühl, Paar Logistik GmbH, Aichach, and Willbrandt KG, Hannover. No fine was imposed on another company involved in the agreements, Diehl Defence Land Systems GmbH, because it had reported the conduct to the Bundeskartellamt.
In August 2015, the Bundeskartellamt published a guidance paper to help contracting entities uncover bid-rigging agreements. The guidance builds on findings from previous cartel proceedings (e.g., the fire-fighting vehicles cartel and the rail cartel). Bid rigging is the only cartel offense under German law that is subject to criminal prosecution and thus potential imprisonment of individuals. Other types of cartel infringements are enforced through potentially significant administrative fines, but cannot lead to imprisonment of individuals.
On September 24, 2015, the Hellenic Competition Commission (HCC) accepted commitments from the leading producers of tobacco products in Greece to amend or delete specific contractual terms in their new distribution agreements, so as to allay competition concerns that such contracts may be deemed (a) to excessively restrict sales made by their distributors and (b) to facilitate access of manufacturers to sensitive business information of their competitors, thereby possibly infringing articles 1 of the Greek Competition Act and 101 of the TFEU. The commitments are binding on the companies and non-compliance can result in fines. The HCC had initiated the investigation following complaints by former distributors and their trade associations, alleging that the tobacco producers coordinated to alter their distribution networks simultaneously and illegally refused to supply them with tobacco products.
In September 2015, Aston Carpets and Flooring Ltd (ACF), one of the largest industrial flooring contractors in Ireland, along with a former director of the company, Brendan Smith, were charged with price fixing and market sharing in relation to flooring tenders at a number of properties, including Google’s European headquarters in Dublin. It is alleged that the contractors agreed that one firm would deliberately enter bids in excess of the other in order to rig the outcome of the tenders, in two periods between 2011 and 2013. Mr. Smith is also charged with informing another named businessman, connected with a rival flooring company, to delete emails relevant to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission’s investigation. The charges have been brought under the 2002 and 2012 Competition Acts.
On November 10, 2015, two Irish cement companies, CRH plc and its subsidiary, Irish Cement Limited, issued High Court proceedings against the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission for the alleged improper seizure of documents by the CCPC during dawn raids carried out in May 2015 as part of a CCPC investigation into alleged criminal abuses of dominance in the Irish bagged cement sector. The judgment is likely to shed light on the limits of the CCPC’s information gathering powers.
8. THE NETHERLANDS
In the second half of 2015, the Dutch Competition Authority (Autoriteit Consument & Markt, “ACM”) imposed two cartel fines.
In August 2015, the ACM imposed fines on two producers of natural vinegar for use in food products. Carl Kühne KG GmbH & Co. (“Kühne”) and Burg B.V. (“Burg”) were fined for participating in a cartel to fix bids for tenders of multiple customers in the food industry between 2001 and 2012. Burg was fined EUR 1.8 million, while Kühne received immunity from a EUR 4.6 million fine by bringing the cartel to light. In addition to the corporate fines, fines were imposed on two individual Burg employees for instructing and taking a leading role in the cartel agreements. The individuals were fined EUR 16,000 and EUR 54,000 respectively. The ACM had increased the fine on one individual for failing to cooperate (he claimed a right not to answer questions, without justification in the circumstances). The three Kühne employees responsible for the cartel received immunity under the ACM’s leniency procedure because the corporate application was also submitted on behalf of its employees. The fines were reduced by 10 percent as both parties submitted a settlement request acknowledging liability, as well as the facts, circumstances, and the fine to be adopted.
In October 2015, the ACM took further action in long-running proceedings relating to fines imposed on 79 real estate traders in 2011 and 2013 for participating in a cartel to manipulate foreclosure auctions. In 2011 and 2013, the ACM had issued two fining decisions sanctioning the cartel, which harmed private property owners who were forced to sell their houses via public auction. The traders forming the cartel colluded to keep prices artificially low during auctions in order to make a profit to the detriment of the private owners. The cartelists often held secret “postauction” meetings to agree who would become owner of the property and how to split the profits made via the cartel. Following “objections” filed against the fines, the ACM retained the level of fines imposed on 17 traders, while reducing the level of 54 fines because of new data submitted by the parties. The total fine of EUR 10 million imposed in 2013 was reduced to EUR 6 million. A number of appeals are still pending before different courts in the Netherlands.
On September 1, 2015, the Polish Competition Authority (“PCA”) issued guidelines in which it committed to provide companies under investigation with a “detailed justification of charges,” which is equivalent of a Statement of Objections used in proceedings before the European Commission and other national competition authorities. The objective is to ensure that proceedings before the authority are in full compliance with the high standards established in the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights (“ECHR”). The new procedure will be applied to proceedings initiated after September 1, 2015.
The document will contain detailed factual and legal grounds for the presented charges, as well as evidence corroborating them. The PCA will also disclose whether it actually intends to impose a fine on the undertaking and what factors will be taken into account when calculating the amount, including the seriousness of the infringement, its duration, and the existence of mitigating circumstances.
On November 18, 2015, PCA published guidance on the application of a settlement procedure, which was introduced into Polish law in January 2015. The primary objective of the settlement procedure is to shorten the time of the proceedings and, by limiting the number of court appeals concerning the PCA’s decisions, allow the PCA to allocate its resources to investigate other cases. The procedure can be instituted at the sole discretion of the authority. The authority can withdraw from a settlement procedure at any time during the proceedings. The authority will take into consideration the complexity of the case measured by the type of infringement, the number of parties to the proceedings, and the scope of facts and the legal assessments that are questioned by the parties. The guidance sets out the conditions that companies must meet in order to settle proceedings. Similar to the European Commission approach, settlement will result in a 10 percent reduction of the fine that would otherwise apply.
On August 11, 2015, the Portuguese Competition Authority imposed a fine of EUR 831,810 (approximately $893,800) on five undertakings for anticompetitive practices related to their participation in public tenders launched by Parque Escolar, E.P.E., in 2009 and 2010. The object of the tenders was to promote the supply and assembly of pre-fabricated modular constructions, for rental purposes, for the temporary installation of class rooms, and to accommodate school activities and support services in public schools under intervention. According to the Portuguese Competition Authority’s investigation, between 2009 and 2010, the undertakings entered into a price-fixing and market-partitioning agreement in the context of these public tenders. In particular, the undertakings manipulated their tender proposals and aligned the offering prices in order to artificially determine the winner of each tender. Four out of the five undertakings (including the leniency applicant) benefitted from the leniency regime and three out of four undertakings also cooperated with the Competition Authority under the settlement procedure, thus receiving a 10 percent reduction in the fine. This is the first case in which the settlement procedure was used in proceedings initiated under the New Competition Act.
On September 29, 2015, the Portuguese Competition Authority issued a Statement of Objections (SO) to five undertakings active in the office consumables sector. The Portuguese Competition Authority has concerns that these undertakings may have fixed prices and shared the market for approximately 14 years.
Following a busy first half of the year as reported in our 2015 Mid-Year Criminal Antitrust Update, the Spanish Competition Authority (the Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia or CNMC) has continued to be very active in the second half of 2015, imposing a number of significant fines on companies active across different sectors.
On July 28, 2015, the CNMC imposed its highest-ever total fine of EUR 171 million (approximately $187 million) on 21 companies and two consultancy firms active in the market for the supply and distribution of motor vehicles and the provision of aftersales services in Spain (the sales of the parties accounted for 91 percent of the Spanish market). The investigation, which was initiated following a leniency application by Spanish manufacturer SEAT S.A., found that the manufacturers exchanged information secretly by using consultancy firms Urban Science and Snap-On. General Motors España, S.L.U. and Renault España Comercial, S.A. were fined EUR 22.8 million (approximately $24.9 million) and EUR 18.2 million (approximately $19.9 million), respectively.
On September 3, 2015, the CNMC opened a formal investigation into 16 bus transport companies and the Balearic Business Federation of Transport (“FEBT”) for possible anticompetitive practices. The investigation follows dawn raids conducted in April 2014 at the premises of the FEBT and three bus transport companies.
On December 14, 2015, the CNMC imposed a fine of EUR 9.3 million (approximately $10.1 million) on seven companies for participating in a cartel in the modular construction market. The investigation began in 2013 following a leniency application from one of the manufacturers; a number of premises were inspected in December 2014. According to the CNMC, between 2008 and 2014, the companies fixed prices and allocated customers in the market for the manufacture, sale, and rental of prefabricated modular rooms and portacabins.
2015 also saw a number of important court judgments that will have a significant impact on the application and enforcement of competition rules in Spain.
On May 22, 2015, the Spanish Supreme Court (the “SC”) annulled a number of rulings by the Spanish High Court (the “HC”). The former National Competition Commission (the “CNC”) had imposed fines totaling EUR 120 million (approximately $130.4 million) on several insurance and reinsurance companies for their alleged participation in an insurance cartel. The HC annulled a number of those fines on the basis that there were alternative explanations for the behavior of certain parties in relation to the existence of an agreement. On appeal, the SC disagreed with the HC and indicated that, as the CNC had proven the existence of an anticompetitive agreement and retaliatory measures, the alternative explanations submitted by the companies were insufficient to exclude liability on the part of the companies.
On June 15, 2015, the SC annulled an inspection by the CNC of a company’s premises within the context of the Peluquería Profesional investigation. The SC found that the consent given by the company for the CNC to conduct an inspection was invalid because the company had not been informed of the fact that the CNC had previously sought judicial authorization to enter its premises, but that application had been rejected for lack of sufficient cause. Consequently, the SC declared the inspection void. As the documents seized during the inspection could no longer be included as evidence in the case, the SC also annulled the resolution and fine imposed on the appellant.
In November 2015, Switzerland’s Federal Administrative Court upheld a 156 million Swiss franc fine imposed against German luxury carmaker BMW in 2012. The court confirmed that the contractual restrictions that BMW had imposed on BMW dealers banning exports by dealers located within the EEA into countries outside the EEA (and therefore also into Switzerland) constitute an unlawful vertical territorial restriction within the meaning of the Swiss Cartel Act. The ruling can still be appealed to the Swiss Supreme Court.
The Swiss competition watchdog also closed an investigation into travel booking platforms, such as Booking.com, Expedia and the German HRS, concerning pricing and offers for hotels. The investigation was closed after Booking.com and Expedia introduced revised terms in their agreements with hotel operators. HRS was ordered to implement these changes as well. No fines were imposed.
13. UNITED KINGDOM
The second half of 2015 proved to be a relatively subdued period in terms of civil cartel decisions. While the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) commenced and continued a number of horizontal enforcement investigations, there was only one instance of a concluded investigation resulting in penalties, which related to the private ophthalmology industry.
On the criminal cartel front, there were several developments in court proceedings involving individuals accused of cartel activity, notably in the galvanised steel tanks industry and the banking sector.
On the legislative front, the UK Consumer Rights Act 2015 came into force in October, ushering in a class action-style collective proceedings regime for consumers affected by cartel and other competition violations in the UK.
CESP. In August 2015, the CMA imposed a fine of £500,000 (approximately $759,000) on CESP Limited, a membership organization of private consultant ophthalmologists (eye surgeons), for anticompetitive conduct in breach of Chapter 1 of the Competition Act 1998 and Article 101(1) of the TFEU. The fine was later reduced to £382,500 (approximately $580,000) in recognition of efficiencies from CESP’s settlement and cooperation with the CMA and CESP’s adoption of a comprehensive compliance program.
CESP admitted to a number of competition law infringements, including: (a) recommending that its members refuse to accept lower fees offered by an insurer, and that they charge insured patients higher self-pay fees; (b) circulating amongst its members detailed price lists for ophthalmic procedures such as cataract surgery to be used with insurers; and (c) facilitating the sharing of consultants’ future pricing and business intentions, such as whether to sign up to a private hospital group’s package price, which enabled members to align their responses.
Following the decision, the CMA sent warning letters to CESP’s members, cautioning that similar infringements are also capable of being committed by other groups on behalf of their consultant members and by individual members when acting as sole traders. In addition, it published an open letter to private medical practitioners to raise awareness of why the actions of CESP were illegal and what other medical practitioners working in private practice need to know to make sure they do not engage in similar activity.
Steel Tanks Proceedings. As reported in our 2015 Mid-Year Criminal Antitrust and Competition Law Update, the CMA suffered a setback in its prosecution of the criminal cartel offence in June 2015, when a jury acquitted two defendants charged in relation to an alleged cartel in the galvanized steel tanks industry. These were the first contested prosecutions brought under the criminal cartel offence in which the trial was completed and jury verdict rendered.
Subsequently, in August 2015, a sentencing judgment was handed down for a third defendant, the former Managing Director of Franklin Hodge Industries, Mr. Snee, who had already pleaded guilty. The court imposed a 6 month imprisonment sentence, suspended for 12 months, and ordered Mr. Snee to complete 120 hours of community service. The sentence took into account Mr. Snee’s early guilty plea, his personal mitigation, and the extent of his cooperation (including his appearance as a witness for the CMA in the trial of the two other defendants).
The CMA’s civil investigation into suspected cartel conduct in the galvanised steel tanks industry is continuing, with the CMA flagging a further update on the investigation by the end of January 2016.
Financial Benchmarks. Enforcement action in the banking sector during the second half of 2015 has focused on individuals alleged to have been involved in the conduct. In August, Tom Hayes, the first individual to stand trial in the UK for manipulation of the LIBOR benchmark, was convicted and sentenced to 14 years in prison. Mr. Hayes appealed the conviction to the Court of Appeal. On December 21, his appeal against conviction was rejected, but the Court reduced his sentence to 11 years, finding the original sentence was longer than necessary to punish Mr. Hayes and deter others. Nonetheless, lenient treatment in future cases should not be assumed; in its judgment, the Court of Appeal stated explicitly that it “must make clear to all in the financial and other markets in the City of London that conduct of this type, involving fraudulent manipulation of the markets, will result in severe sentences of considerable length. . . .”
The trial of six former traders accused of conspiracy to defraud in respect of LIBOR is ongoing, while the trial of six other traders is due to commence in early 2016. In addition to these cases, in November 2015, the SFO instituted proceedings against 10 individuals formerly from Deutsche Bank and Barclays accused of manipulating the EURIBOR benchmark, while the UK Financial Control Authority (FCA) has banned two former Rabobank traders from the UK financial services industry on the basis that they lack honesty and integrity, following their convictions for LIBOR-related fraud in the US.
Other enforcement action. Further to our 2015 Mid-Year Criminal Antitrust and Competition Law Update reporting on dawn raids in the clothing, fashion, and footwear sectors earlier this year, the CMA has decided to proceed with a formal investigation. The nature of the suspected conduct and the parties involved has not been made public. The CMA is expected to decide by March 2016 whether any further investigatory steps are required.
In addition, the CMA has commenced several civil investigations in the second half of the year in relation to UK online sales of licensed sports and entertainment merchandise, and in the sports equipment and leisure sectors. In December 2015, as part of its investigation into online sales of licensed sports and entertainment merchandise, the CMA conducted searches of a UK company, Trod Limited, and the domestic premises of one of its directors. The CMA’s searches were coordinated with searches on behalf of the US DOJ, whose investigation into possible price fixing of poster art on the Amazon Marketplace is described above.
The UK Consumer Rights Act 2015 (the “CRA”) came into force on October 1, 2015, fundamentally transforming the cartel claims environment in the UK, and introducing collective actions for damages claims before the Competition Appeals Tribunal (the “CAT”).
Under the new regime, members of a class of claimants will be bound by the outcome on either an opt-in or opt-out basis, depending on whether the claimant is domiciled in the UK at a specified time. The CRA empowers the CAT to hear not only follow-on damages claims (i.e., damages claims limited to the subject matter and scope of antitrust infringement findings of the Competition & Markets Authority, the European Commission and other antitrust authorities), but also stand-alone claims (i.e., those brought before an infringement is proven), which have been, until now, the preserve of the High Court. These changes will copper fasten London’s preeminence as a European jurisdiction of choice for competition damages claims.
Further details on the new regime can be found in our client alert UK Consumer Rights Act 2015 Ushers in Class Action-Style Collective Proceedings Regime in the Competition Appeals Tribunal.
1. Legal Developments
The final report from the Harper Review–a year-long examination of Australia’s competition laws, policies, and institutions–was issued in March of this year, a development detailed in Gibson Dunn’s 2015 Mid-Year Criminal Antitrust and Competition Law Update. The final report outlined an ambitious reform agenda, including 56 recommendations that would significantly alter Australia’s competition regime. The recommendations deeply divided the Australian government. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (“ACCC”) was no exception and, while it supported “the general thrust of the recommendations,” it expressed “significant differences” with three proposed changes. Indeed, ACCC chairman Rod Sims even warned that the proposed changes would “undermin[e] the commission’s ability to take effective enforcement action to address hard core cartel conduct.” Ultimately, the Abbott government delayed consideration of the Harper Review’s recommendations.
The Harper Review regained its momentum after Malcom Turnbull–widely regarded as pro-competitive–replaced Tony Abbott as prime minister in September 2015. In November 2015, the Turnbull Government released its response to the Harper Review, accepting 39 recommendations, partially accepting five, and calling for further consultation on 12.
Among the recommendations for which the government sought further consideration is a change that has stirred passionate responses on all sides: an amendment to Section 46 of the Competition and Consumer Act 2010. Under existing Australian law, “a corporation that has a substantial degree of power in a market shall not take advantage of that power” for certain proscribed purposes. Yet, the phrase “take advantage” has been narrowly construed by Australian courts to require a nexus between a corporation’s market power and its alleged anticompetitive conduct. The Harper Review recommends that Section 46 be revised to eliminate the “take advantage” approach and instead prohibit conduct that “has the purpose, or is likely to have the effect, of substantially lowering competition.” The so-called “effects test” approach has stirred strong opposition from larger businesses. Turnbull’s cabinet is expected to make a final decision on this issue by the end of March 2016, after soliciting further comments.
Regardless of the outcome, full implementation of any Harper Review reforms embraced by the government still requires action by individual states. The ACCC announced that it “welcomes” the government’s response to the Harper Review and “looks forward to working constructively with the government as it implements these recommendations.”
In our 2015 Mid-Year Criminal Antitrust and Competition Law Update, we also discussed a new decision from the full Australian Federal Court holding that parties in civil prosecution are prohibited from making joint statements to the court regarding appropriate penalties pursuant to a settlement agreement. On December 9, however, the Australian High Court reinstated the ability of parties to negotiate settlements and make joint penalty statements. The High Court “unanimously held that, in civil penalty proceedings, courts are not precluded from considering and, if appropriate, imposing penalties that are agreed between the parties.” While the High Court stressed that the court is not bound to accept the agreed penalty if it does not consider it appropriate, lawyers across Australia were “relieved” that settlements are once again available to parties in civil matters. Parties in criminal matters remain unable to submit joint statements regarding fines or penalties.
The ACCC remains active in investigating and taking enforcement actions against allegedly anticompetitive behavior. For example, the ACCC is continuing its formal inquiry into the natural gas industry in eastern Australia, as mentioned in Gibson Dunn’s 2015 Mid-Year Criminal Antitrust and Competition Law Update. In a September 2015 speech, ACCC Chairman Sims outlined some preliminary observations from that inquiry and suggested that the ACCC is likely to make recommendations for market reforms to address “changing market dynamics.” The ACCC has also opened an investigation into alleged cartel conduct in the concrete and scaffolding industries in and around Canberra after public allegations came to light before the Royal Commission into Trade Union Governance and Corruption. The ACCC suffered losses in July on two price-fixing cases before the Full Federal Court. In the first matter, the Full Federal Court overturned a lower court decision that Flight Centre, a travel booking firm, facilitated collusion among airlines to ensure they did not undercut one another’s fares. In the second matter, the Full Federal Court sustained a lower court ruling that ANZ Bank had not colluded with mortgage brokers to reduce discounts offered to customers. The Full Federal Court reasoned in both cases that the parties did not compete in the same market as their alleged co-conspirators and therefore there was no competition law violation. The ACCC later announced that it would appeal the Flight Centre decision to the High Court.
China continues to build on its recent track record of aggressive antitrust enforcement.
China’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC), which regulates non-pricing antitrust behavior, initiated 14 new investigations in 2015, bringing its total to 58 investigations since China’s Antimonopoly Law was enacted in 2008.
China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), which investigates cartel-related activity, also remained active. For example, the NDRC has joined a growing list of regulators that have imposed fines on roll-on roll-off shipping lines for conspiring to fix prices. After an investigation lasting over a year, on December 28, 2015, the NDRC announced that it had imposed fines of 407 million RMB ($63 million) on seven companies that had participated in the cartel. One of the seven companies was fined only four percent of its China-related sales due to its cooperation with the NDRC’s investigation. And an eighth company was not fined at all because it was the first to cooperate with the NDRC.
Significant changes to China’s competition laws may be on the horizon. On September 2, 2015, the Chinese government announced plans to amend the Chinese Antimonopoly laws. MOFCOM, NDRC, and SAIC have each been given a role in the revision process. China has sought comment from both the legal community and foreign businesses, and planned to begin reviewing input on December 11, 2015. The substance and impact of the revisions, the first since the enactment of the Antimonopoly Law in 2008, will be a focal point in the months and years to come.
C. HONG KONG
The Ordinance grants extensive powers to the Hong Kong Competition Commission (“HKCC”) to investigate suspected violations and to enforce the rules. These powers include the ability to compel production of documents and information, to require individuals to attend interviews, and to enter and search premises in dawn raids. The Hong Kong Communications Authority (“HKCA”) shares powers with the HKCC to enforce the Ordinance in the broadcasting and telecommunications sectors.
Companies involved in the most serious breaches can incur penalties totaling ten percent of their total Hong Kong turnover for each year of the contravening conduct, up to a maximum of three years. Other remedies can also be imposed, including damages awards, injunctions, confiscation of illegal profits, and declarations that agreements are void. Private enforcement is also contemplated by the Ordinance; a person who has suffered a loss as a result of the contravening conduct may take legal action against the infringer. However, such private actions may only “follow on” from enforcement actions by the HKCC.
In preparation for implementation of the Ordinance, the HKCC has been studiously consulting with interested parties, preparing guidelines and policies outlining its interpretation of the Ordinance, and developing its enforcement practices, procedures, and priorities. Notably:
The HKCC has stated that its approach for the first few years of the Ordinance will be to encourage compliance across the whole of the Hong Kong economy, rather than targeting specific sectors, through a mixture of education, engagement, and enforcement.
As noted in our 2012 Year-End Criminal Antitrust and Competition Law Update, the Competition Commission of India (“CCI”) had imposed a record fine of Rs 6,307 crore (approximately $1.1 billion) on 11 cement manufacturers and the Cement Manufacturers’ Association (“CMA”) for coordinating on prices, distribution, and supply of cement. Several cement manufacturers appealed the decision. On December 11, 2015, India’s Competition Appellate Tribunal overturned that fine. The Tribunal’s decision did not consider the merits of the case; instead, it ruled that the CCI’s investigation was procedurally unfair because the CCI chairman participated in issuing the final order without having heard the arguments of the parties. The CCI has been instructed to renew the investigation and issue a new order within the next three months.
In the latter half of 2015, the CCI remained active and imposed fines on companies in four industries. On November 17, 2015, the CCI fined three airlines for “concerted action in fixing and revising Fuel Surcharge (“FSC”) for transporting cargo.” The CCI determined that the airlines acted in parallel and colluded in fixing FSC rates, which indirectly determined the rates for air cargo transport. As a result, the CCI fined the airlines a total of Rs 257.91 crores (approximately $38 million). On July 29, 2015, the CCI concluded that an association of theater owners had engaged in anticompetitive conduct by limiting and restricting the release of Malayalam and Tamil movies to certain theaters. The CCI fined the association Rs 82,414 (approximately $1,200) and imposed additional fines on the association’s president and secretary. Finally, the CCI fined four public sector insurance companies Rs 671.05 crores (approximately $100 million) for manipulating the bidding process for selecting an insurance service provider. CCI considered as an aggravating factor the fact that bid rigging concerned the public procurement for social welfare schemes involving poor families.
On January 7, 2016, Ashok Chawla stepped down as chairman of the CCI and will be replaced by Devender Kumar Sikri, a former secretary at the Department of Justice. Chawla has been lauded for focusing greater awareness on competition law and enforcement while successfully guiding the budding agency through its early years. In particular, he is noted for his vigorous enforcement against cartels in the cement, drug distribution, and film distribution industries since taking office in October 2011. Sikri’s term ends in 2018.
After imposing a series of fines in early 2015, Indonesia’s Commission for the Supervision of Business Competition (KPPU) was less active in the latter half of 2015. From press reports, the KPPU’s recent efforts appear to be focused on suspected cartel activity in the country’s food industry. In particular, potential cartels in the meat and rice sectors have drawn widespread attention, including public comments by President Joko Widodo and a recent meeting with the KPPU Chief.
Meanwhile, the KPPU has pushed back against the Indonesian government’s recent efforts to criminalize certain violations of Indonesian competition laws. The KPPU fears that such a change could lead to harsh consequences for unwitting violators of the laws. The KPPU has indicated that criminalization efforts may be appropriate in the future though, after the Indonesian market has had time to adapt to a modern regulatory environment.
On October 9, 2015, the Japan Fair Trade Commission (“JFTC”) issued cease and desist orders to 11 companies for their participation in a scheme to designate successful bidders for the supply of snow melting equipment for use on a Shinkansen train route. Additionally, the JFTC ordered the companies to pay a combined ¥1.03 billion (approximately $85 million) penalty.
Interestingly, the snow melting matter was the first to use a hearing procedure implemented by the 2013 amendment to the Anti-Monopoly Act. In the hearing procedure (which came into effect in April 2015), the JFTC informs companies of proposed orders and affords them the opportunity to review and copy the evidence supporting the order. Parties may then make a submission, with supporting evidence, to the JFTC for consideration. After the issuance of a JFTC order, dissatisfied parties may file an appeal with the Tokyo District Court.
2. International Cooperation
In mid-October 2015, the JFTC and China’s NDRC concluded a Memorandum of Cooperation designed to promote competition through cooperation between the two nations. Among its features, the pact calls for annual consultations, cooperation on technical matters, and a shared commitment to informing each other about matters of mutual interest.
On August 4, 2015, the Malaysian Competition Commission (“MyCC”) issued a warning to the Nursery and Nanny Association (“Association”) and its members for allegedly fixing their fee scale. The MyCC ordered the Association to immediately dismantle its collective system of fixed fees, while explaining that individual members were instead free to raise or decrease fees on an individual basis. MyCC Chairman Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Siti Norma Yaakob stated in a press release that “[p]rice increases alone [are] not an anticompetitive practice, but MyCC want[s] to ensure [that members] decide individually whether they want to increase or not based on their operating cost which may var[y] from one another.”
In February 2015, Myanmar became the latest member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to adopt a competition law framework. This comprehensive legislation covers four primary areas: anticompetitive acts, abuse of dominance, mergers, and unfair competition. The new law provides for a Competition Commission that is invested with substantial authority to investigate and enforce these laws, including the power to raid companies, interrogate witnesses, and seize evidence, along with substantial criminal and civil penalties for violations. However, the adopted legislation provides little guidance on several critical issues, such as the creation of a leniency program or the threshold for merger notifications. These issues are expected to be addressed in forthcoming rules and regulations. The new competition regime provides a two-year grace period through February 2017 before it comes into force.
I. NEW ZEALAND
The bill to amend New Zealand’s anti-cartel laws, which we discussed in our 2015 Mid-Year Criminal Antitrust and Competition Update, remains pending in parliament and subject to revision. In the most recent development, the New Zealand government deleted provisions that would have criminalized cartel activities and provided for imprisonment for up to seven years. Paul Goldsmith, the Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, believes that the remaining “steep” civil penalties for individuals and corporations, in combination with the leniency program, will sufficiently deter potential cartelists without resorting to criminal sanctions.
On the enforcement front, the New Zealand Commerce Commission (“NZCC”) fined two livestock companies respectively NZD 2.7 million ($1.84 million) and NZD 475,000 ($325,000) for fixing the price of animal tagging at cattle sale yards and conspiring to increase other related charges. The High Court of New Zealand also fined a defendant waste oil company NZ$425,000 (approximately $282,000) for attempting to enter into an anticompetitive agreement with a competitor, though no agreement was reached and the defendant waste oil company received no commercial gain. In a statement, the Chairman of the NZCC stated that “[a]ttempting to strike an anti-competitive agreement is illegal, regardless of whether it is calculated or an ill-thought out reaction to competitive pressure.”
The Competition Commission of Pakistan (“CCP”) appears to be significantly increasing its cartel enforcement activity in several industries.
On the education front, the CCP initiated a probe into possible anticompetitive behavior behind “exorbitant” fee increases at private schools across Pakistan. Prices allegedly increased between 10 to 20 percent annually without any apparent justification. As a result, the CCP is assessing whether the schools have violated Section 3 of Pakistan’s 2010 Competition Act, which prohibits unreasonable price increases by dominant market entities, and Section 4 of the Act, which prohibits price fixing between competitors. On August 19, 2015, the CCP issued requests to 123 private schools for information going back three years relating to the fee increases. Although many of the schools responded to the voluntary requests, the CCP subsequently issued subpoenas to eight schools that did not. The CCP also solicited comments from the public, and in response, the CCP received over one thousand complaints about the schools’ pricing.
In the aviation industry, on October 6, 2015, the CCP ordered the chief executive officers of various private airlines operating in Pakistan to submit information regarding allegedly unreasonable or collusive fare increases implemented during a labor dispute that caused domestic flight cancellations.
In agriculture, on November 17, 2015, the CCP issued a show-cause notice to the Pakistan Poultry Association (“PPA”) for a prima facie violation of Section 4 of the Competition Act. The CCP alleged that the PPA attempted, through newspaper advertisements, to fix the prices of broiler chickens and eggs with the purpose or effect of preventing, restricting, or reducing competition in the relevant markets. The PPA had two weeks to respond to the notice.
The CCP is also scrutinizing numerous other industries for possible cartelization, including companies in the sugar, cigarettes, automobiles, pharmaceuticals, aviation, and milk industries. The CCP had already extracted billion-rupee (approximately $9.5 million) fines after uncovering cartels in the cement and sugar industries, among others. The CCP’s work continues in some of these markets, including its long-running investigation into whether a group of sugar mills has been jointly restricting competition. Yet, the CCP is also turning its focus to new markets. For example, the CCP is now investigating whether drug makers have been creating artificial shortages of life-saving drugs.
In 2015, the CCP–which also deals with merger clearance and consumer protection–conducted 32 hearings and issued nine enforcement orders. It also initiated 28 inquiries, of which 23 have been completed. Recently, the CCP’s efforts to promote compliance with Pakistan’s competition laws included a 22-city National Road Show on Competition Law, during which representatives of the CCP hosted 32 interactive sessions with business representatives to increase awareness about competition issues.
As anticipated in our 2015 Mid-Year Criminal Antitrust and Competition Law Update, the President of the Philippines signed into law the Philippine Competition Act (Republic Act No. 10667 or the “Competition Act”) on July 21, 2015. The law is the nation’s first comprehensive antitrust regime–a departure from the long-standing network of industry-specific competition law and enforcement agencies.
The new regime creates the Philippine Competition Commission (“Commission”), an independent quasi-judicial body endowed with original and primary jurisdiction over the enforcement and implementation of antitrust law in the country. The Commission, with a budget of 300 million pesos (approximately $6 million), is composed of a chairperson and four commissioners, each appointed by the President for a seven-year term without reappointment, with two of the initial commissioners serving five-year terms. The Commission has comprehensive powers to investigate, make binding findings, and impose criminal and civil sanctions for violations. The Office of Competition of the Department of Justice, the predecessor to the Commission that was established in 2011, will now conduct only preliminary investigations and criminal prosecutions of violations of the Competition Act. The Filipino President Benigno Aquino III has not yet appointed the chairperson or the commissioners, despite the Competition Act’s direction to establish the Commission in September.
Substantively, the Competition Act covers three broad acts: 1) anticompetitive agreements, 2) abuse of dominant positions, and 3) anticompetitive mergers and acquisitions. Anticompetitive agreements include (i) price fixing and bid rigging practices, which are per se violations, and (ii) other agreements that have the object or effect of substantially preventing, restricting or lessening competition. Abuse of dominant positions covers anticompetitive acts, such as predatory pricing, imposing unfair barriers to entry, and certain forms of price discrimination. The Act also provides for a rebuttable presumption that a firm with a 50 percent or more market share in the relevant market has a dominant position. In the mergers and acquisitions arena, parties to a transaction with a value exceeding 1 billion pesos (approximately $21 million) cannot consummate the transaction until 30 days after the Commission has been notified of the transaction.
The Competition Act provides for administrative fines of up to 100 million pesos (approximately $2 million) for first offenses and 250 million pesos (approximately $5.5 million) for second offenses; these fines can be trebled if a violation involves food and consumer products, pharmaceuticals, construction materials and agricultural materials. Importantly, the Competition Act provides a two-year initial grace period, through August 2017, for businesses to cure any existing structure, conduct, practice, or act that is in violation of the Act.
In September 2015, the Competition Commission of Singapore (“CCS”) proposed the addition of several new procedures to its competition enforcement guidelines. Among the proposed changes are amendments to the existing leniency guidelines and a new fast-track leniency procedure, designed to increase the overall effectiveness and efficiency of the CCS’s enforcement. The CCS posted the proposed changes online and requested public feedback through November 2015.
The proposed changes to the CCS’s leniency guidelines require, in addition to complying with already-existing leniency procedures, that leniency applicants “unconditionally admit to the conduct for which leniency is sought” and “grant a waiver of confidentiality to CCS” to contact other jurisdictions that have been informed of the conduct or in which the applicant has sought leniency.
Under the proposed fast-track procedure, parties that admit involvement in cartel agreements and cooperate with authorities will receive up to a 10% reduction in fines and a shorter investigation. Some observers have noted that “the planned new fast-track procedure would be a significant change to the commission’s practices,” and would bring the CCS more in line with settlement procedures used by the European Commission.
M. SOUTH KOREA
As reported in our 2014 Year-End Criminal Antitrust and Competition Law Update, the Korean Fair Trade Commission (“KFTC”) has made several important policy changes, including amendments to its leniency policy, that went into effect on January 2, 2015. The amendments abolished the Secretary General’s ability to grant provisional leniency and clarified the evidentiary burden for leniency applicants and the restrictions on subsequent leniency applicants. The KFTC announced additional policy proposals during the second half of 2015 that include new rules for on-site investigations, further amendments to its leniency principles, and changes to various case management procedures.
With the proposed on-site investigation rules, the KFTC sought to enhance the “fairness and transparency” of its investigations by requiring that it provide investigation targets with “objective and reasonable” criteria and by establishing a company’s right to counsel. This latter provision is narrowly tailored though and limits the right to counsel “where the presence of the attorney makes it significantly difficult to carry out cartel investigations or to achieve the investigation objective.” The proposed changes to the KFTC’s leniency principles would require the person responsible for making a leniency application to attend a hearing to verify the contents of the application and answer questions. Additionally, the amendment would preclude leniency for any applicant that discloses to a third party the fact that it has applied for leniency. Finally, the proposed amendments to the KFTC’s case management procedures would impose new temporal requirements, such as requiring the registration of the case to the KFTC’s case handling system within a certain period of time and limiting the time available until a case must be submitted to the Commission.
The KFTC also continued its trend of forging alliances with other enforcement authorities by signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the US DOJ regarding information exchange and case coordination.
Additionally, as discussed in our 2015 Mid-Year Criminal Antitrust and Competition Law Update, the KFTC has continued to aggressively pursue investigations of alleged bid rigging. In October, the KFTC imposed a sanction of over 28 billion won (approximately $23 million) against four companies for rigging bids to build a double track railway. In August, the KFTC also fined seventeen companies a total of 32.951 billion won (approximately $28 million) for agreeing to rig bids for five infrastructure construction projects. In July, the KFTC fined another seven companies a total of 2.671 billion won (approximately $2 million) for agreeing on bid prices and cover bidding for four wastewater treatment facility construction projects. And in June, the KFTC imposed fines of 11.178 billion won (approximately $9 million) against thirteen cable companies for rigging bids to provide electric wires for the Korea Rail Network.
Moreover, in the second half of 2015, the KFTC sanctioned multiple alleged cartels. In July, the KFTC concluded that three elevator parts manufacturers agreed on price and a customer allocation scheme, yet opted not to impose fines because the cartel had little anticompetitive effect. Also in July, the KFTC fined eleven compound feed manufacturers 77.334 billion won (approximately $65 million) for fixing prices. In June, the KFTC applied fines of 895 million won (approximately $760,000) against three crawler manufacturers for agreeing on prices. In June, the KFTC also imposed fines totaling over 1.51 billion won (approximately $1.2 million) against two manufacturers of rubber rolls that agreed to allocate customers.
Following-up on the KFTC’s 78 billion won (approximately $66 million) fine against ball bearings manufacturers for collusive activities, which was discussed in our 2014 Year-End Criminal Antitrust and Competition Law Update, the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office formally indicted one of the involved companies for price fixing. This development is particularly noteworthy because it is the first time a foreign company will stand trial in Korea for price fixing.
Finally, on December 24, 2015, the Korean Supreme Court annulled fines imposed by the KFTC in its ramen price fixing case. The Supreme Court found that there was insufficient evidence against Nongshim to support the existence of a price-fixing agreement. The Supreme Court found that the statements of insufficiently credible employees of leniency applicants and evidence of mere information exchange were not enough to support allegations of concerted action. The Supreme Court reaffirmed that the KFTC’s burden in cartel cases is to show concrete evidence that proves a meeting of the minds to fix prices.
On December 9, 2015, the Taiwan Fair Trade Commission announced the imposition of record administrative fines totaling NT$5.8 billion (approximately $176.8 million)–the highest fines the Commission has ever imposed–on seven aluminum capacitor manufacturers and three tantalum capacitor manufacturers. Aluminum capacitors primarily are used in larger electronic products, such as household appliances, while tantalum capacitors are mainly used in small electronic products, such as mobile phones. The Commission’s investigation concluded that the manufacturers engaged in anticompetitive conduct by exchanging sensitive information, including price and capacity data. In announcing the resolution, the Commission also credited the cooperative efforts with US, EU, and Singapore authorities, which we have described in our prior updates.
On December 1, 2015, the Egyptian Competition Authority (“ECA”) referred four pharmaceutical distribution companies to the prosecutor general on charges of monopolistic practices. The ECA alleged that the companies violated Law 3/2005 on the Protection of Competition by colluding to reduce discounts and credit periods given to small- and medium-sized pharmacies.
On August 31, 2015, the Israel Antitrust Authority indicted six textbook distribution companies and their managers for six instances of alleged bid-rigging. The charges resulted from an undercover investigation which found that the managers colluded on price bids they submitted, or agreed not to bid at all, in response to tenders from a Ministry of Education book-purchasing program.
C. SAUDI ARABIA
On August 25, 2015, the Court of Appeal of Saudi Arabia issued a final decision affirming the Council of Competition’s imposition of a one million riyal (approximately $266,640) fine on the Riyadh Oxygen Company for its role in a medical-gas cartel. After receiving a complaint from the Ministry of Health, the Council found that the company had allocated the market, fixed prices, and rigged bids up to 300 percent higher than they otherwise would have been. Seven other companies were also allegedly involved in the cartel, but the Council did not identify them or say whether they had been fined. This case is the first bid-rigging case handled by Saudi Arabia’s competition authority.
The Turkish Competition Authority has opened investigations into alleged price fixing in the markets for gold and for vacuumed glass tubes used in solar water-heating systems.
On August 18, 2015, the Competition Commission of Botswana (“CCB”), the tribunal for competition-related cases, dismissed a complaint brought by the Botswana Competition Authority (“BCA”) following the BCA’s investigation into alleged bid rigging in the award to Rabbit Group and Creative Business Solutions of a tender to supply infant formula to the Ministry of Health. The CCB dismissed the case on procedural grounds, finding that it lacked jurisdiction because the BCA failed to file the complaint within one year of the investigation, as required by law. This is yet another instance in which the CCB dismissed on procedural grounds a complaint brought by the BCA against Rabbit Group and Creative Business Solutions. As reported in our 2015 Mid-Year Criminal Antitrust and Competition Law Update, the CCB previously dismissed a case against the companies for rigging bids to supply sugar beans to schools.
B. EAST AFRICAN COMMUNITY
As reported in the 2015 Mid-Year Antitrust and Competition Law Update, the East African Community (“EAC”) Competition Act of 2006 was slated to become operational in December 2014. After several delays, its implementation was moved to July 2015, when member states were due to confirm their nominees for the post of commissioner. As of November, however, Rwanda, Uganda and Burundi had yet to submit names for commissioners to sit on the board. According to an EAC competition officer, the three partner states were contacted by the EAC ministers in November, but none responded. The member states have already approved an interim organizational structure and budget for the EAC Competition Authority, and the agency is now expected to begin its work in 2016.
On September 18, 2015, the Malawi Competition and Fair Trading Commission announced several reforms to Malawi’s Competition and Fair Trading Act and Consumer Protection Act. The reforms included amendments that eliminate existing gaps and duplications, provide for on-the-spot fines for violations of consumer protection laws, and align the Act with sectoral laws.
As reported in our 2015 Mid-Year Antitrust and Competition Law Update, in July 2014, Morocco enacted Laws No. 104-12 and No. 20-13, which were expected to transform the Moroccan Competition Council from an advisory committee to an independent regulatory authority empowered to investigate and sanction anticompetitive practices. By mid-2015, however, the Laws remained essentially inoperative. Council members have yet to be designated, and the Moroccan merger control regime has not yet announced a significant decision. In a speech this October, King Mohammed VI stressed to the Moroccan parliament the importance of implementing legislation on the Competition Council.
Rwanda is in the final stages of establishing a new independent body to promote fair competition among producers. The Rwanda Competition and Inspectorate Authority (“RCIA”) will have competition and consumer protection responsibilities, including oversight of quality standards in pharmaceuticals, plant and animal products, and other products meant for public use or consumption. The RCIA can impose sanctions on noncomplying parties, including revoking their licenses. As of May 8, the draft law establishing the RCIA was awaiting parliamentary approval.
F. SOUTH AFRICA
In the second half of 2015, the Competition Commission of South Africa (“CCSA”) continued its practice of conducting dawn raids of entities as part of its investigations into suspected anticompetitive conduct. On September 23, 2015, the CCSA raided three recruitment agencies as part of its ongoing investigation into bid rigging and collusive conduct in the provision of recruitment advertising services. Shortly thereafter, on September 30, 2015, the CCSA conducted dawn raids on four furniture-removal companies suspected of engaging in collusive conduct. On October 14, 2015, the CCSA raided several petroleum gas suppliers as part of its ongoing investigation into price fixing of gas cylinders.
On October 26, 2015, the CCSA referred to the Competition Tribunal of South Africa (“Tribunal”) a case arising out of CCSA’s investigation of bid rigging in the construction sector. In its investigation, the CCSA found that two companies engaged in collusive conduct by agreeing to fix contractual conditions on a tender for the construction of a national highway, and then arranging for a third-party professional organization to demand that the issuer change the tender’s conditions to match those to which the companies agreed in violation of South Africa’s Competition Act.
Following the CCSA’s investigation of collusive conduct in the shipping industry, two shipping liners, Nippon Yusen Kabushiki Kaisha Ltd and Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics AS, entered into separate settlement agreements with the CCSA in June 2015 and July 2015 respectively. The CCSA found that both companies had fixed prices and colluded to allocate the market for deep-sea transportation services.
A number of South African courts issued decisions in antitrust cases during the second half of 2015. On August 19, 2015, the Tribunal affirmed the CCSA’s R3,000,000 (approximately $191,000) penalty against fuel company Tosaco Commercial Services (Pty) Ltd (“Tosaco”) for price fixing and market allocation. The Tribunal found that Tosaco and its competitor synchronized bid strategies and allocated tenders among themselves in violation of the Competition Act.
On November 4, 2015, the Tribunal upheld the CCSA’s decision to reject a leniency application submitted by a group of metal wire suppliers. Under the CCSA’s Corporate Leniency Policy, a cartel member may be granted immunity from prosecution and fines if it is the first to voluntarily disclose its participation in the cartel. Although the group of metal wire suppliers sought to be the first leniency applicant from the cartel, the CCSA noted that another company had already submitted an application and that the group would need to provide concrete evidence about the cartel to receive immunity. While the group provided more information, including disclosing the names of alleged cartel members and terms of certain agreements, the CCSA determined that the group did not provide sufficient evidence of the agreements or “any information that would be sufficient to establish a prohibited practice.” The group submitted no further information and was fined. In its November 4 decision, the Tribunal dismissed an appeal from the group, concluding that the group was not a proper leniency applicant since (1) it was not the first to report, (2) the information provided was insufficient to support a leniency application, and (3) the appeal was untimely.
On December 9, 2015, the Tribunal affirmed the CCSA’s R64.1 million (approximately $4.1 million) fine against construction company Murray & Roberts. The fine was in addition to an earlier R309 million (approximately $20 million) fine levied on the company for its involvement in a bid-rigging cartel in connection with construction projects leading up to the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The latest fine was reduced because of the company’s cooperation with the CCSA in settling 17 other construction bid-rigging cases on behalf of itself and its subsidiaries.
On November 4, 2015, the Supreme Court of Appeal of South Africa (“SCA”) ruled in favor of Premier Foods after the company argued on appeal that the Tribunal lacked jurisdiction to issue it a violation certificate for its role in a bread cartel. Premier Foods, which had disclosed its participation in the cartel in a leniency application, was not a named respondent in the case due to a pre-2008 policy that excluded leniency applicants from cases that the CCSA referred to the Tribunal following the applicant’s disclosure. However, the Tribunal attempted to issue a violation certificate even though Premier Foods was not a named respondent–an effort the SCA rejected.
 See generally Meltem Bağiş Akkaya, Competition Law Enforcement in Regulated Markets: When competition enforcement clashes with a regulatory agency’s enforcement, Turkish Competition Authority (Sept. 12, 2014), available at http://turinschool.eu/files/turinschool/ISS14_Bagis_Akkaya.pdf.
 Jeff Zalesin, Barclays Says Forex Fine Irrelevant To $2B Antitrust Deal, Law360 (Dec. 2, 2015), available at http://www.law360.com/articles/733316/barclays-says-forex-fine-irrelevant-to-2b-antitrust-deal.
 Randall Smith, Two Former Traders Found Guilty in Libor Manipulation Case, N.Y. Times (Nov. 5, 2015), available at http://www.nytimes.com/2015/11/06/business/dealbook/two-former-traders-found-guilty-in-libor-manipulation-case.html.
 Regina v. Hayes,  EWCA (Crim) 1944,  (Eng.), available at https://www.judiciary.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/r_-v_tom_alexander_william_hayes_redacted_approved.pdf; Liam Vaughan & Suzi Ring, Tom Hayes Libor Jail Sentence Cut to 11 Years, Conviction Upheld, Bloomberg Business (Dec. 21, 2015), available at http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-12-21/hayes-libor-jail-sentence-cut-to-11-years-conviction-upheld-iig1k5da.
 Takanori Abe & Kaoru Ochiai, Japan: Japan Applies Antimonopoly Act Beyond Borders for First Time, Managing Intellectual Property (Oct. 28, 2015) (analyzing JFTC CRT decision), available at http://www.managingip.com/Article/3501783/Japan-JFTC-applies-Antimonopoly-Act-beyond-borders-for-first-time.html.
 Tom Webb, Taiwan imposes record fine on capacitors cartel, Global Competition Review (Dec. 10, 2015), available at http://globalcompetitionreview.com/news/article/40125/taiwan-imposes-record-fine-capacitors-cartel.
 Gibson Dunn, The Final Countdown Begins for Hong Kong’s Competition Regime: Time to Comply, at 13, available at https://www.gibsondunn.com/wp-content/uploads/documents/publications/Final-Countdown-Begins-for-Hong-Kong-Competition-Regime–Time-to-Comply.pdf.
 Tom Webb, Highest-ever Indian cartel fine struck down, Global Competition Review (Dec. 11, 2015), available at http://globalcompetitionreview.com/news/article/40133/highest-ever-indian-cartel-fine-struck-down.
 The total criminal fines for FY 2015 is an estimate based on our review of plea agreements announced by the Antitrust Division and other court-imposed criminal fines during the fiscal year. The underlying data for the years prior to FY 2015 can be found at U.S. Dep’t of Justice, Antitrust Div., Workload Statistics, FY 2005-2014 [hereinafter FY 2005-2014 Workload Statistics], available at http://www.justice.gov/atr/public/workload-statistics.html.
 The chart reflects court-imposed restitution, disgorgement, and penalties during the respective fiscal year stemming from an Antitrust Division investigation. The amounts reflected for FY 2001–2010 reflect only court-imposed restitution reported by the Antitrust Division, as we are unaware of any disgorgement or penalties resulting from an Antitrust Division criminal investigation prior to the municipal bond settlements in FY 2011. See FY 2005-2014 Workload Statistics, available at http://www.justice.gov/atr/public/workload-statistics.pdf; U.S. Dep’t of Justice, Antitrust Div., Antitrust Division Workload Statistics, FY 2000–2009, available at http://www.justice.gov/sites/default/files/atr/legacy/2012/04/04/281484.pdf; see also Gibson Dunn, 2010 Year-End Criminal Antitrust Update.
 Press Release, U.S. Dep’t of Justice, Two Former Rabobank Traders Convicted for Manipulating U.S. Dollar, Yen LIBOR Interest Rates (Nov. 5, 2015), available at http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/two-former-rabobank-traders-convicted-manipulating-us-dollar-yen-libor-interest-rates.
 Press Release, U.S. Dep’t of Justice, Two Former Rabobank Traders Convicted for Manipulating U.S. Dollar, Yen LIBOR Interest Rates (Nov. 5, 2015), available at http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/two-former-rabobank-traders-convicted-manipulating-us-dollar-yen-libor-interest-rates.
 Maria Armental, Former Deutsche Bank Trader Pleads Guilty in Libor Manipulation Probe, Wall St. J. (Oct. 8, 2015), available at http://www.wsj.com/articles/former-deutsche-bank-trader-pleads-guilty-in-libor-manipulation-probe-1444335906.
United States v. Curtler, No. 1:15-cr-00670-VSB (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 8, 2015), ECF No. 2.
United States v. Hayes, No. 12-mj-3229-PAC, 2015 WL 4620254, at *1 (S.D.N.Y. Aug. 3, 2015).
 See Gibson Dunn, 2015 Mid-Year Criminal Antitrust and Competition Law Update at I.A.2.b; Dep’t of Labor, Employee Benefits Security Administration, Notice of Exemption Involving Deutsche Bank AG (Deutsche Bank or the Applicant) Located in Frankfurt, Germany, 80 Fed. Reg. 53,574 (Sept. 4, 2015).
 See Gibson Dunn, 2015 Mid-Year Criminal Antitrust and Competition Law Update at I.A.2.c.
 Bill Baer, Asst. Att’y Gen., U.S. Dept. of Justice Antitrust Div., Remarks as Prepared for the Ninth Annual Global Antitrust Enforcement Symposium on “Cooperation, Convergence, and the Challenges Ahead in Competition Enforcement” (Sep. 29, 2015), available at http://www.justice.gov/opa/speech/assistant-attorney-general-bill-baer-delivers-remarks-ninth-annual-global-antitrust.
 Press Release, U.S. Dep’t of Justice, NGK Insulators Ltd. to Pay $65.3 Million for Fixing Prices on Auto Parts (Sep. 3, 2015), available at http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/ngk-insulators-ltd-pay-653-million-fixing-prices-auto-parts.
 Press Release, U.S. Dep’t of Justice, KYB Agrees to Plead Guilty and Pay $62 Million Criminal Fine for Fixing Price of Shock Absorbers (Sep. 16, 2015), available at http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/kyb-agrees-plead-guilty-and-pay-62-million-criminal-fine-fixing-price-shock-absorbers.
 United States Sentencing Memorandum and Motion for a Downward Departure Pursuant to United States Sentencing Guidelines § 8C4.1 at 8, United States v. Kayaba Industry Co., LTD d/b/a KYB Corporation, Case No. 1:15-CR-00098 (S.D. Ohio Oct. 5, 2015), ECF No. 21.
 Press Release, U.S. Dep’t of Justice, INOAC Corp. To Pay $2.35 Million for Fixing Prices on Auto Parts (Nov. 19, 2015), available at http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/inoac-corp-pay-235-million-fixing-prices-auto-parts.
 Press Release, U.S. Dep’t of Justice, Three Japanese Auto Parts Executives Indicted for Bid-Rigging Conspiracy Involving Body Sealing Products Installed in U.S. Cars (Oct. 8, 2015), available at http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/three-japanese-auto-parts-executives-indicted-bid-rigging-conspiracy-involving-body-sealing.
 According to the indictment, Katsumaru and Kuroda were employed by Hiroshima-based “Company A,” while Kyomoto was employed by “Company B,” with offices in Topeka, Indiana, and Novi, Michigan. See Indictment at 2, United States v. Kyomoto, Case No. 15-44-ART-CJS (E.D. Ky. Oct. 8, 2015), ECF No. 1.
 See, e.g., John Irwin, 3 Nishikawa Rubber Execs Indicted by U.S. for Price-Fixing, Automotive News (Oct. 8, 2015), available at http://www.autonews.com/article/20151008/OEM10/151009821/3-nishikawa-rubber-execs-indicted-by-u.s.-for-price-fixing.
 Press Release, U.S. Dep’t of Justice, Three German Executives Indicted for Participation in Parking Heater Price-Fixing Scheme (Dec. 9, 2015), available at http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/three-german-executives-indicted-participation-parking-heater-price-fixing-scheme.
 Press Release, U.S. Dep’t of Justice, INOAC Corp. To Pay $2.35 Million for Fixing Prices on Auto Parts (Nov. 19, 2015), available at http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/inoac-corp-pay-235-million-fixing-prices-auto-parts.
 Press Release, U.S. Dep’t of Justice, Three Ocean Shipping Executives Indicted for Fixing Prices and Rigging Bids (Oct. 6, 2015), available at http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/three-ocean-shipping-executives-indicted-fixing-prices-and-rigging-bids.
 Gibson Dunn, 2015 Mid-Year Criminal Antitrust and Competition Law Update at I.A.2.e.
 Press Release, U.S. Dep’t of Justice, Three Ocean Shipping Executives Indicted for Fixing Prices and Rigging Bids (Oct. 6, 2015), available at http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/three-ocean-shipping-executives-indicted-fixing-prices-and-rigging-bids.
 Press Release, U.S. Dep’t of Justice, Former Sales Executive Pleads Guilty to Participation in Color Display Tube Conspiracy (Nov. 18, 2015), available at http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/former-sales-executive-pleads-guilty-participation-color-display-tube-conspiracy.
 Sonya Lalli, DG Comp Issues Formal Cartel Charges to Capacitor Makers, Global Competition Review (Nov. 4, 2015), available at http://globalcompetitionreview.com/news/article/39769/dg-comp-issues-formal-cartel-charges-capacitor-makers/.
 Press Release, U.S. Dep’t of Justice, NEC Tokin Corporation to Plead Guilty and Pay $13.8 Million for Fixing Price of Electrolytic Capacitors (Sept. 2, 2015), available at http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/nec-tokin-corporation-plead-guilty-and-pay-138-million-fixing-price-electrolytic-capacitors.
 United States v. Heinz, 790 F.3d 365, 366-67 (2d Cir. 2015) (per curiam); see alsoUnited States v. Heinz, 607 F. App’x 53 (2d Cir. 2015) (summary order issued in tandem with opinion). For our past analysis of this litigation at its earlier stages, see Gibson Dunn, 2015 Mid-Year Criminal Antitrust and Competition Law Update at I.A.3.a; Gibson Dunn, 2014 Year-End Criminal Antitrust and Competition Law Update at I.A.2.d; Gibson Dunn, 2014 Mid-Year Criminal Antitrust and Competition Law Update at I.A.5.
 Id. at 15-18 (quoting, inter alia, Heinz, 790 F.3d at 367 (requiring that “the effect of the fraud is ‘sufficiently direct'”); United States v. Mullins, 613 F.3d 1273, 1278 (10th Cir. 2010) (“[T]here may be some point where the ‘influence’ a defendant’s wire fraud has on a financial institution becomes so attenuated, so remote, so indirect that it cannot trigger the ten-year limitations period because it does not in any meaningful sense ‘affect’ the institution.”); United States v. Pelullo, 924 F.2d 193, 216 (3d Cir. 1992) (testing for whether the conduct was “unreasonably remote”); United States v. Ubakanma, 215 F.3d 421, 426 (4th Cir. 2000) (reasoning that fraud “affected a financial institution only if the institution itself were victimized by the fraud”).
 Leah Nylen, DOJ drops charges against former VP in New Jersey tax lien price-fixing case, MLex (Sept. 4, 2015), available at http://www.mlex.com/GlobalAntitrust/DetailView.aspx?cid=715515&siteid=191&rdir=1.
 Press Release, U.S. Dep’t of Justice, Alabama Real Estate Investor Admits to Bid Rigging and Mail Fraud Conspiracies Involving Foreclosed Homes (Sept. 2, 2015), available at http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/alabama-real-estate-investor-admits-bid-rigging-and-mail-fraud-conspiracies-involving.
 Press Release, U.S. Dep’t of Justice, Real Estate Investor Pleads Guilty to Bid Rigging and Fraud Conspiracies at Georgia Public Foreclosure Auctions (Oct. 7, 2015), available at http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/real-estate-investor-pleads-guilty-bid-rigging-and-fraud-conspiracies-georgia-public; Press Release, U.S. Dep’t of Justice, Georgia Real Estate Investor Admits to Bid Rigging and Mail Fraud Conspiracies at Home Foreclosures Auctions (Oct. 27, 2015), available at http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/georgia-real-estate-investor-admits-bid-rigging-and-mail-fraud-conspiracies-home-foreclosures.
 Press Release, U.S. Dep’t of Justice, Two Georgia Real Estate Investors Plead Guilty to Rigging Bids at Public Home Foreclosure Auctions (Jan. 4, 2016), available at http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/two-georgia-real-estate-investors-plead-guilty-rigging-bids-public-home-foreclosure-auctions.
 Melissa Lipman, DOJ Charges Second Retail Exec With Poster Price Fixing, Law 360 (Dec. 4, 2015), available at http://www.law360.com/competition/articles/734362?nl_pk=3d4ec931-e27a-4bd5-8331-aa218b2f596d&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=competition.
 Press Release, U.S. Dep’t of Justice, Second Individual Charged in Ongoing New York Power Authority Procurement Fraud Investigation (Dec. 3, 2015), available at http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/second-individual-charged-ongoing-new-york-power-authority-procurement-fraud-investigation.
 Press Release, U.S. Dep’t of Justice, Former Executive Admits Guilt in Conspiracy Affecting Water Treatment Chemicals (Oct. 27, 2015), available at http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/former-executive-admits-guilt-conspiracy-affecting-water-treatment-chemicals.
 Nopparat Chaichalearmmongkol and Josh Beckerman, Bumble Bee to Merge with Chicken of the Sea, Wall St. J. (Dec. 19, 2014), available at http://www.wsj.com/articles/thai-union-seafood-company-to-buy-bumble-bee-1418958046?mg=id-wsj.
 Leah Nylen and Flavia Fortes, Chicken of the Sea, Bumble Bee Receive DOJ Subpoenas in Packaged Seafood Probe, MLex (July 23, 2015), available at http://www.mlex.com/US/Content.aspx?ID=702987.
 Fili Sagapolutele, USDOJ price fixing probe on tuna products continues, Samoa News (Oct. 27, 2015), available at http://www.samoanews.com/content/en/usdoj-price-fixing-probe-tuna-products-continues.
 TUF May Cut Stake in Chicken of the Sea, Atuna (Aug. 17, 2015), available at http://www.atuna.com/index.php/en/77-atuna/3557-tuf-may-cut-stake-in-chicken-of-the-sea-free.
 Press Release, U.S. Dep’t of Justice, Chicken of the Sea and Bumble Bee Abandon Tuna Merger After Justice Department Expresses Serious Concerns (Dec. 3, 2015), available at http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/chicken-sea-and-bumble-bee-abandon-tuna-merger-after-justice-department-expresses-serious.
 Bill Baer, Asst. Att’y Gen., U.S. Dept. of Justice Antitrust Div., Remarks as Prepared for the Delivery at The New Health Care Industry Conference: Integration, Consolidation, Competition in the Wake of the Affordable Care Act at Yale University (Nov. 13, 2015), available at http://www.justice.gov/opa/speech/assistant-attorney-general-bill-baer-delivers-remarks-new-health-care-industry-conference.
 Bill Baer, Asst. Att’y Gen., U.S. Dept. of Justice Antitrust Div., Cooperation, Convergence, and the Challenges Ahead in Competition Enforcement, Remarks as Prepared for the Georgetown Law 9th Annual Global Antitrust Enforcement Symposium (Sept. 29, 2015), available at http://www.justice.gov/opa/speech/assistant-attorney-general-bill-baer-delivers-remarks-ninth-annual-global-antitrust.
 Bill Baer, Asst. Att’y Gen., U.S. Dept. of Justice Antitrust Div., Remarks before the National Asian American Coalition and National Diversity Coalition, Remarks as Prepared for Delivery at the 12th Annual Economic Development and Housing Conference (Oct. 23, 2015), available at http://www.justice.gov/opa/speech/assistant-attorney-general-bill-baer-delivers-remarks-national-asian-american-coalition.
 Memorandum from Sally Quillian Yates, Deputy Att’y Gen., U.S. Dep’t of Justice, to Heads of Dep’t Components, U.S. Att’ys (“Yates Memorandum”) (Sept. 9, 2015), available at http://www.justice.gov/dag/file/769036/download; Sally Quillian Yates, Deputy Att’y Gen., Remarks at New York University School of Law Announcing New Policy on Individual Liability in Matters of Corporate Wrongdoing (“Yates NYU Remarks”) (Sept. 10, 2015), available at http://www.justice.gov/opa/speech/deputy-attorney-general-sally-quillian-yates-delivers-remarks-new-york-university-school.
 Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, DOJ’s Newest Policy Pronouncement: The Hunt for Corporate Executives (Sept. 11, 2015), available at https://www.gibsondunn.com/dojs-newest-policy-pronouncement-the-hunt-for-corporate-executives/.
 Id. (citing U.S.S.G. § 8C2.5(g), cmt. (n.13) (“A prime test of whether the organization has disclosed all pertinent information is whether the information is sufficient for law enforcement personnel to identify the nature and extent of the offense and the individual(s) responsible for the criminal conduct.”)).
 Sally Quillian Yates, Deputy Att’y Gen., Remarks at American Banking Association and American Bar Association Money Laundering Enforcement Conference (“Yates American Banking Remarks”) (Nov. 16, 2015), available at http://www.justice.gov/opa/speech/deputy-attorney-general-sally-quillian-yates-delivers-remarks-american-banking-0.
 See, e.g., Yates NYU Remarks (“And since virtually all of these corporations operate worldwide, restrictive foreign data privacy laws and a limited ability to compel the testimony of witnesses abroad make it even more challenging to obtain the necessary evidence to bring individuals to justice.”).
 See Yates Memorandum at 4 (“Both criminal and civil corporate investigations should focus on individuals from the inception of the investigation.”); Yates NYU Remarks (“One of the things we have learned from experience is that it is extremely difficult to build a case against individuals, civil or criminal, unless we focus on individuals from the very beginning.”); Yates American Banking Remarks (“We expect our civil attorneys, like our prosecutors, to focus on individuals from the beginning of the investigation.”)
 Yates Memorandum at 6 (“Corporate cases should not be resolved without a clear plan to resolve related individual cases before the statute of limitations expires . . . .”); id. (“If the investigation of individual misconduct has not concluded by the time authorization is sought to resolve the case against the corporation, the prosecution or corporate authorization memorandum should include a discussion of the potentially liable individuals, a description of the current status of the investigation regarding their conduct and the investigative work that remains to be done, and an investigative plan to bring the matter to resolution prior to the end of any statute of limitations period.”); see also U.S. Attorneys’ Manual § 4-3.100(6) (“Corporate cases should not be resolved without a clear plan to resolve related individual cases before the statute of limitations expires . . . .”).
 Press Release, U.S. Dep’t of Justice, Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission Sign Antitrust Memorandum of Understanding with Korea Fair Trade Commission (September 8, 2015) available at http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/department-justice-and-federal-trade-commission-sign-antitrust-memorandum-understanding-korea.
 Press Release, Canadian Competition Bureau, Toyo Tire fined $1.7 million for participating in bid-rigging conspiracy (Dec. 9, 2015), available at http://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/eng/04013.html.
 Press Release, Canadian Competition Bureau, Agreement with Direct Energy to resolve concerns in Ontario water heater industry (Oct. 30, 2015), available at http://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/eng/03997.html.
 Sonya Lalli, Canada settles with energy retailer for abuse of dominance, Global Competition Review (Nov. 4, 2015), available at http://globalcompetitionreview.com/news/article/39768/canada-settles-energy-retailer-abus.
 Press Release, Canadian Competition Bureau, Final price-fixing charges stayed in chocolate case (Nov. 18, 2015), available at http://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/eng/04003.html.
 Richard Vanderford, Comment: Cold streak for Canadian authorities might change leniency calculation, MLex (Nov. 23, 2015), available at http://www.mlex.com/GlobalAntitrust/DetailView.aspx?cid=742161&siteid=191.
 Richard Vanderford, Canada probes Air China, Air Canada deal, MLex (July 20, 2015), available at http://www.mlex.com/GlobalAntitrust/DetailView.aspx?cid=701865&siteid=191.
 Revisiting a Guilty Plea to Avoid Debarment from Public Contracts, Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP (Aug. 25, 2015), available at https://reaction.dwpv.com/rs/vm.ashx?ct=24F76F15DEE20AEDC1D180A9D22D9410D8BE7BB3D38714DD4CF371647BF8D90DDD78032.
 See, e.g., Press Release, CADE, CADE Signs Agreement with Construction Company Camargo Corrêa in the Investigation of Petrobras’ Bid Rigging Cartel (Aug. 20, 2015), available at http://www.cade.gov.br/Default.aspx?d064b246df35cb57a390a3be8ab3.
 Gibson Dunn, 2015 Mid-Year Criminal Antitrust and Competition Law Update at I.C.7 (citing Press Release, CADE, CADE Signs Leniency Agreement in the Scope of “Operation Car Wash” (Mar. 20, 2015), available at http://www.cade.gov.br/Default.aspx?86b948d123f80f14e654e77bce71).
 See, e.g., Press Release, CADE, CADE Signs Agreement with Construction Company Camargo Corrêa in the Investigation of Petrobras’ Bid Rigging Cartel (Aug. 20, 2015), available at http://www.cade.gov.br/Default.aspx?d064b246df35cb57a390a3be8ab3.
 Press Release, CADE, Cade Signs Leniency Agreement in Cartel in Public Bidding of Angra 3 Nuclear Power Plant (July 31, 2015), available at http://www.cade.gov.br/cade_english/press-releases/cade-signs-leniency-agreement-in-cartel-in-public-bidding-of-angra-3-nuclear-power-plant; see also Press Release, CADE, CADE Opens Administrative Procedure on the Angra 3 Public Procurement Cartel Investigation (Nov. 19, 2015), available at http://www.cade.gov.br/cade_english/press-releases/cade-opens-administrative-procedure-on-the-angra-3-public-procurement-cartel-investigation.
 Mark Briggs, Brazil Opens More Lava Jato Proceedings Months after Leniency Application, Global Competition Review (Nov. 20, 2015), available at http://globalcompetitionreview.com/news/article/39874/brazil-opens-lava-jato-proceedings-months-leniency-application/.
 See, e.g., Press Release, CADE, CADE Signs Agreement with Construction Company Camargo Corrêa in the Investigation of Petrobras’ Bid Rigging Cartel (Aug. 20, 2015), available at http://www.cade.gov.br/Default.aspx?d064b246df35cb57a390a3be8ab3.
 See, e.g., Press Release, CADE, CADE Opens Administrative Proceeding on Petrobras Public Bid Cartel Investigation (Dec. 23, 2015), available at http://en.cade.gov.br/press-releases/cade-opens-administrative-proceeding-on-petrobras-public-bid-cartel-investigation-1.
 Press Release, CADE, CADE Fines Cement Cartel in BRL 3.1 Billion (May 29, 2014), available at http://en.cade.gov.br/press-releases/cade-fines-cement-cartel-in-blr-3-1-billion; Mark Briggs, Brazil Reinforces Cement Cartel Decision, Global Competition Review (July 30, 2015), available at http://globalcompetitionreview.com/news/article/39176/brazil-reinforces-cement-cartel-decision/.
 Press Release, Cimpor, CADE–Decision (July 29, 2015) available at http://www.cimpor.pt/cache/binImagens/XPQXh7AXX250328Qh4csTgfPZKU.pdf.
 Tom Madge-Wyld & Pallavi Guniganti, CADE Names 30 Traders in Forex Probe, Global Competition Review (July 15, 2015), available at http://globalcompetitionreview.com/news/article/39066/cade-names-30-traders-forex-probe/.
 Press Release, CADE, CADE Signs Cease and Desist Agreement with Allpark and Seven Individuals (Aug. 31, 2015), available at http://www.cade.gov.br/cade_english/press-releases/cade-signs-cease-and-desist-agreement-with-allpark-and-seven-individuals.
 As noted in our 2015 Mid-Year Criminal Antitrust and Competition Law Update, two other companies settled and admitted their participation in the same cartel in February. Gibson Dunn, 2015 Mid-Year Criminal Antitrust and Competition Law Update at I.C.4.
 Press Release, CADE, CADE Signs Four Cease and Desist Agreements in Antitrust Investigations (Sept. 30, 2015), available at http://www.cade.gov.br/cade_english/press-releases/cade-signs-four-cease-and-desist-agreements-in-antitrust-investigations.
 Press Release, CADE, Abrinq Condemned for Infringements against the Economic Order (Aug. 31, 2015), available at http://www.cade.gov.br/cade_english/press-releases/abrinq-condemned-for-infringements-against-the-economic-order.
 Tom Madge-Wyld, CADE Bristles at Paint Brush Market Concentration, Global Competition Review (Sept. 3, 2015), available at http://globalcompetitionreview.com/news/article/39411/cade-bristles-paint-brush-market-concentration.
 Press Release, CADE, CADE Sentences Solar Heaters Bid Rigging Cartel (Sept. 30, 2015), available at http://www.cade.gov.br/cade_english/press-releases/cade-sentences-solar-heaters-bid-rigging-cartel.
 Press Release, CADE, CADE condena cartel no mercado de prestação de serviços hemoterápicos no GO (Nov. 11, 2015), available at http://www.cade.gov.br/noticias/cade-condena-cartel-no-mercado-de-prestacao-de-servicos-hemoterapicos-no-go.
 Press Release, CADE, CADE condena sociedade de anestesiologistas por coordenar tabelamento de preços (Nov. 25, 2015), available at http://www.cade.gov.br/noticias/cade-condena-sociedade-de-anestesiologistas-por-coordenar-tabelamento-de-precos.
 Press Release, CADE, General Superintendence Suggests Conviction of Milk Cartel in Pelotas, Rio Grande do Sul (Oct. 5, 2015), available at http://www.cade.gov.br/cade_english/press-releases/general-superintendence-suggests-conviction-of-milk-cartel-in-pelotas-rio-grande-do-sul.
 Press Release, CADE, CADE’s General-Superintendence Issues Opinion for Condemnation of Cathode-Ray Tubes’ Cartel (Nov. 17, 2015), available at http://www.cade.gov.br/cade_english/press-releases/cade2019s-general-superintendence-issues-opinion-for-condemnation-of-cathode-ray-tubes2019-cartel.
 Press Release, CADE, General Superintendence Recommends Condemnation of Sodium Perborate International Cartel (July 30, 2015), available at http://www.cade.gov.br/cade_english/press-releases/general-superintendence-recommends-condemnation-of-sodium-perborate-international-cartel.
 Tom Madge-Wyld, CADE Recommends Switchgear Cartel Sanctions, Global Competition Review (Jan. 4, 2016), available at http://globalcompetitionreview.com/news/article/40228/cade-recommends-switchgear-cartel-sanctions/.
 Sonya Lalli, CADE Probes Alleged Auto Bumper Cartel in Brazil, Global Competition Review (Oct. 1, 2015), available at http://globalcompetitionreview.com/news/article/39587/cade-probes-alleged-auto-bumper-cartel-brazil/.
 Mark Briggs, Brazil Opens Eighth Auto Parts Cartel Investigation, Global Competition Review (Nov. 13, 2015), available at http://globalcompetitionreview.com/news/article/39827/brazil-opens-eighth-auto-parts-cartel-investigation/.
 Press Release, CADE, CADE’s General Superintendence Investigates International Cartel on Clay Substrates for Automobiles (Dec. 24, 2015), available at http://en.cade.gov.br/press-releases/cade2019s-general-superintendence-investigates-international-cartel-on-clay-substrates-for-automobiles.
 Press Release, CADE, Federal Police and the Prosecution Service of the Federal District and Territories Conduct Joint Operation to Disrupt Alleged Fuel Cartel (Nov. 24, 2015), available at http://www.cade.gov.br/cade_english/press-releases/cade-federal-police-and-the-prosecution-service-of-the-federal-district-and-territories-conduct-joint-operation-to-disrupt-alleged-fuel-cartel; Press Release, CADE, Cade solicita ao governador do DF apoio no combate a cartel de combustíveis (Nov. 26, 2015), available at http://www.cade.gov.br/noticias/cade-solicita-ao-governador-do-df-apoio-no-combate-a-cartel-de-combustiveis; see also Mark Briggs, CADE and Local Police Raid Suspected Fuel Cartel in Brasilia, Global Competition Review (Nov. 25, 2015), available at http://globalcompetitionreview.com/news/article/39897/cade-local-police-raid-suspected-fuel-cartel-brasilia/.
 Press Release, CADE, Superintendência do CADE investiga cartel no mercado de rolos refratários de cerâmica (July 8, 2015), available at http://www.cade.gov.br/noticias/superintendencia-do-cade-investiga-cartel-no-mercado-de-rolos-refratarios-de-ceramica.
 Press Release, CADE, CADE’s General Superintendence Opens Proceeding to Investigate Cartel in the Market of Computer Equipments (July 23, 2015), available at http://en.cade.gov.br/press-releases/cade2019s-general-superintendence-opens-proceeding-to-investigate-cartel-in-the-market-of-computer-equipments.
 Press Release, CADE, CADE Investigates a Gas Station Cartel in Joinville, Santa Catarina State (Oct. 5, 2010), available at http://www.cade.gov.br/cade_english/press-releases/cade-investigates-a-gas-station-cartel-in-joinville-santa-catarina-state. Note that this cartel, in Santa Catarina, is distinct from the fuel cartel in Espírito Santo discussed in the 2015 Mid-Year Criminal Antitrust and Competition Law Update. See Gibson Dunn, 2015 Mid-Year Criminal Antitrust and Competition Law Update at I.C.6.
 Press Release, CADE, CADE’s General Superintendence Investigates National Cartel of Hydrometers (Oct. 27, 2015), available at http://www.cade.gov.br/Default.aspx?fa4edc2cc55bb17185b285db6bec.
 Press Release, CADE, CADE Conducts Dawn Raid to Investigate Alleged Cartel in the Market of Orthoses and Prostheses (Dec. 2, 2015), available at http://www.cade.gov.br/Default.aspx?fd31c157ae64b87a8cb98aa6ba81.
 Press Release, CADE, CADE and OECD Promote Seminar on Bid Rigging (Nov. 3, 2015), available at http://www.cade.gov.br/Default.aspx?8da071b848dd32f10431025ef75f.
 CADE, Draft Guidelines for Competition Compliance Programs, available at http://www.cade.gov.br/upload/Guidelines%20CADE’s%20Antitrust%20Leniency%20Program.pdf; see also Press Release, CADE, CADE Presents Proposal of Guidelines on Competition Compliance Programs (Aug. 25, 2015), available at http://en.cade.gov.br/press-releases/cade-presents-proposal-of-guidelines-on-competition-compliance-programs.
 Press Release, CADE, CADE Publishes Draft FAQ on Agency’s Leniency Program (Nov. 11, 2015), available at http://www.cade.gov.br/cade_english/press-releases/cade-publishes-draft-faq-on-agency2019s-leniency-program; Guia, CADE, Programa de Leniência Antitruste do Cade (Versão Preliminar), available at http://www.cade.gov.br/acesso-a-informacao/concursos-e-selecoes/anexos-e-imagens/guia-programa-de-leniencia-antitruste-do-cade-versao-preliminar.pdf.
 Tom Madge-Wyld, Chilean Court Clears Pharmaceutical Executives, Global Competition Review (Aug. 11, 2015), available at http://globalcompetitionreview.com/news/article/39255/chilean-court-clears-pharmaceutic.
 Press Release, National Economic Prosecutor, Chilean Supreme Court Upholds Fines for Collusion Against Agrosuper, Ariztía and Don Pollo and Hardens Sanction Against the Trade Decision (Oct. 29, 2015), available at http://www.fne.gob.cl/english/2015/10/29/chilean-supreme-court-upholds-fines-for-collusion-against-agrosuper-ariztia-and-don-pollo-and-hardens-sanction-against-the-trade-association/; see also Gibson Dunn, 2014 Year-End Criminal Antitrust and Competition Law Update at I.E.
 Sonya Lalli, Tissue Products Cartel Unravels in Chile, Global Competition Review (Oct. 30, 2015), available at http://globalcompetitionreview.com/news/article/39744/tissue-products-cartel-unravels-chi.
 Ministerio de Comercio, Industria y Turismo, Deicreeto Número 1523 (July 16, 2015), available at http://www.sic.gov.co/recursos_user/documentos/DECRETO_1523_DEL_16_DE_JULIO_DE_2015.pdf.
 Pallavi Guniganti, Colombia Slaps Record Fine on Sugar Anti-Import Cartel, Global Competition Review (Oct. 9, 2015), available at http://globalcompetitionreview.com/news/article/39646/colombia-slaps-record-fine-sugar-anti-import-cartel/.
 Pallavi Guniganti, Accusations Fly in Colombian Sugar Cartel Probe, Global Competition Review (Oct. 12, 2015), available at http://globalcompetitionreview.com/news/article/39648/accusations-fly-colombian-sugar-cartel-probe.
 Pallavi Guniganti, Colombia’s Competition Bar, Global Competition Review (July 14, 2015), available at http://globalcompetitionreview.com/news/article/39065/colombias-competition-bar.
 D’Arcy Quinn, Caracol Radio, Advierten sobre cárcel a quienes promuevan carteles empresariales (Dec. 2, 2015), available at http://caracol.com.co/programa/2015/12/02/6am_hoy_por_hoy/1449058165_399772.html.
 ZPaolo Agredo, Minuto30, Cuenta bancaria de Petro fue embargada por la Superintendencia de Industria y Comercio (Dec. 14, 2015), available at http://www.minuto30.com/cuenta-bancaria-de-petro-fue-embargada-por-la-superintendencia-de-industria-y-comercio/417148/.
 Press Release, SCPM, La Superintendencia de Control del Poder de Mercado Emitió Instructivo para Gestión y Ejecución de Compromisos de Cese (Nov. 27, 2015), available at http://www.scpm.gob.ec/la-superintendencia-de-control-del-poder-de-mercado-emitio-instructivo-para-gestion-y-ejecucion-de-compromisos-de-cese/.
 Press Release, El Salvador Superintendence of Competition, SC concluye actuaciones previas sin indicios (July 7, 2015), available at http://www.sc.gob.sv/pages.php?Id=1615.
 Press Release, Comisión para la Defensa y Promoción de la Competencia, En honor del día Nacional de la Libre Competencia: CDPC desarrolla foro sobre Competencia y Seguridad Alimentaria en Honduras (Aug. 7, 2015), available at https://www.cdpc.hn/?q=www.foro_sem_com2015.
 Press Release, Comisión para la Defensa y Promoción de la Competencia, CDPC hace prevalecer la Ley de Competencia y Ordena al Colegio de Químico Farmacéuticos cesar en la restricción de distancia entre farmacias (Aug. 31, 2015), available at https://www.cdpc.hn/sites/default/files/Privado/Comunicados%20de%20Prensa/2015/NP%20CDPC%20ordena%20al%20Colegio%20de%20Quimicos%20Farmaceuticos.pdf.
 Report, World Economic Forum, The Global Competitiveness Report 2015–2016, available at http://www3.weforum.org/docs/gcr/2015-2016/Global_Competitiveness_Report_2015-2016.pdf.
 Press Release, Comisión para la Defensa y Promoción de la Competencia, Honduras el país de Centroamérica que más ha mejorado su competitividad (Nov. 16, 2015), available at https://www.cdpc.hn/?q=www.com_16112015.
 Paloma Alcantara & Fernando Carreno, Global Competition Review, The Antitrust Review of the Americas 2016 – Mexico: Overview, available at http://globalcompetitionreview.com/reviews/74/sections/283/chapters/3008/mexico-overview/.
 Pallavi Guniganti, Mexico Fines Bus Companies, Global Competition Review (July 21, 2015), available at http://globalcompetitionreview.com/news/article/39114/mexico-fines-bus-companies-cartel/.
 Mark Briggs, Cathode Ray Tube Cartel Had No Effect in Mexico, Global Competition Review (Oct. 27, 2015), available at http://globalcompetitionreview.com/news/article/39719/cathode-ray-tube-cartel-no-effect-mexico/.
 See Comisión de Promoción y Defensa de la Competencia, Resolution No. 101-015, Subject No. 27/2015 (Nov. 17, 2015), available at https://www.mef.gub.uy/14997/5/areas/ano-2015.html.
 Press Release, European Comm’n, Antitrust: Commission fines cargo train operators € 49 million for cartel (July 15, 2015), available at http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-15-5376_en.htm.
 Press Release, European Comm’n, Antitrust: Commission fines suppliers of optical disc drives € 116 million for cartel (Oct. 21, 2015), available at http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-15-5885_en.htm.
 See Gibson Dunn, 2015 Mid-Year Criminal Antitrust and Competition Law Update at II.A.1.b.
 See Gibson Dunn, 2014 Mid-Year Criminal Antitrust and Competition Law Update at II.A.
 See Gibson Dunn, 2014 Year-End Criminal Antitrust and Competition Law Update at II.A.
 See Gibson Dunn, 2015 Mid-Year Criminal Antitrust and Competition Law Update at II.A.
 See Press Release, European Comm’n, Antitrust: Commission Opens Formal Investigation in the Biofuels Sector Concerning Ethanol Benchmarks (Dec. 7, 2015), available at http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-15-6259_en.htm.
 According to the Commission, the prices assessed and published by price reporting agencies such as Platts serve as benchmarks for trade in the physical markets and in the financial derivative markets for a number of commodity products both in Europe and worldwide.
 See Press Release, European Comm’n, Antitrust: Commission Sends Statement of Objections to Suspected Participants in Electrolytic Capacitors Cartel (Nov. 4, 2015), available at http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-15-5980_en.htm.
 See MLex, ÖBB confirms EU Commission antitrust dawn raids (Dec. 2, 2015), available at http://www.mlex.com/GlobalAntitrust/DetailView.aspx?cid=744909&siteid=190&rdir=1.
 See Press Release, European Comm’n, Antitrust: Commission Sends Statement of Objections to 13 Investment bBnks, ISDA and Markit in Credit Default Swaps Investigation (July 1, 2013), available at http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-13-630_en.htm.
 See Press Release, European Comm’n, Antitrust: Commission Closes Proceedings Against 13 Investment Banks in Credit Default Swaps Case (Dec. 4, 2015), available at http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEX-15-6254_en.htm.
 See Notice, European Comm’n, Case AT.39.520, available at http://ec.europa.eu/competition/antitrust/cases/dec_docs/39520/39520_12342_6.pdf.
 See Press Release, European Comm’n, Antitrust: Commission Confirms Unannounced Inspections in the Cement Sector (Nov. 5, 2008), available at http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-08-676_en.htm?locale=en.
 See Press Release, European Commission, Antitrust: Commission Carries Out Unannounced Inspections in the Cement and Related Products Sector (Sept. 23, 2009), available at http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-09-409_en.htm?locale=en.
 See Foo Yun Chee, Reuters, EU regulators scrap cement investigation due to lack of evidence (July 31, 2015), available at http://www.reuters.com/article/eu-cartel-cement-idUSL5N10B1Y920150731.
 See Matthew Newman, MLex, EU drops probe into oil benchmarks (Dec. 7, 2015), available at http://www.mlex.com/GlobalAntitrust/DetailView.aspx?cid=746631&siteid=190&rdir=1.
 Cases T-389/10 and T-419/10, SLM and Ori Martin v. Commission, ECLI:EU:T:2015:513 (July 15, 2015), available at http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf;jsessionid=9ea7d0f130d587872b5f90e4491b99eade27f7d19d5c.e34KaxiLc3eQc40LaxqMbN4Oc3iSe0?text=&docid=165835&pageIndex=0&doclang=FR&mode=lst&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=1098664; Cases T-413/10 and T-414/10, Socitrel and Companhia Previdente v. Commission, ECLI:EU:T:2015:500 (July 15, 2015), available at http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?text=&docid=165833&pageIndex=0&doclang=fr&mode=lst&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=1099212; Case T-391/10, Nedri Spanstaal v. Commission, ECLI:EU:T:2015:509 (July 15, 2015), available at http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?text=&docid=165821&pageIndex=0&doclang=EN&mode=req&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=1100276; Case T-393/10, Westfälische Drahtindustrie v. Commission, ECLI:EU:T:2015:515 (July 15, 2015), available at http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?text=&docid=165842&pageIndex=0&doclang=FR&mode=req&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=1100570; Case T-398/10, Fapricela v. Commission, ECLI:EU:T:2015:498 (July 15, 2015), available at http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?text=&docid=165843&pageIndex=0&doclang=FR&mode=req&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=1101265; Case T-406/10, Emesa-Trefileria and Industrias Galycas v. Commission, ECLI:EU:T:2015:499 (July 15, 2015), available at http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?text=&docid=165840&pageIndex=0&doclang=EN&mode=req&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=1101456; Case T-418/10, voestalpine and voestalpine Wire Rod Austria, ECLI:EU:T:2015:516 (July 15, 2015), available at http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?text=&docid=165831&pageIndex=0&doclang=FR&mode=req&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=1101586; Case T-422/10, Trafilerie Meridionali v Commission, ECLI:EU:T:2015:512 (July 15, 2015), available at http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?text=&docid=165830&pageIndex=0&doclang=FR&mode=req&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=1101833; Case T-423/10, Redaelli Tecna v. Commission, ECLI:EU:T:2015:511 (July 15, 2015), available at http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?text=&docid=165837&pageIndex=0&doclang=FR&mode=req&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=1102016; Case T-436/10, HIT Groep v. Commission, ECLI:EU:T:2015:514 (July 15, 2015), available at http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?text=&docid=165823&pageIndex=0&doclang=FR&mode=req&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=1102183.
 Cases T-389/10 and T-419/10, SLM .and Ori Martin v. Commission, ECLI:EU:T:2015:513 (July 15, 2015), available at http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf;jsessionid=9ea7d0f130d587872b5f90e4491b99eade27f7d19d5c.e34KaxiLc3eQc40LaxqMbN4Oc3iSe0?text=&docid=165835&pageIndex=0&doclang=FR&mode=lst&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=1098664.
 Case T-418/10, voestalpine and voestalpine Wire Rod Austria, ECLI:EU:T:2015:516 (July 15, 2015), available at http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?text=&docid=165831&pageIndex=0&doclang=FR&mode=req&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=1101586.
 Case T-393/10, Westfälische Drahtindustrie v. Commission, ECLI:EU:T:2015:515 (July 15, 2015), available at http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?text=&docid=165842&pageIndex=0&doclang=FR&mode=req&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=1100570.
 Case T-84/13, Samsung SDI Co. Ltd v. Commission, ECLI:EU:T:2015:611 (Sept. 9, 2015), available at http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?text=&docid=167145&pageIndex=0&doclang=EN&mode=lst&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=1104175; Case T-91/13, LG Electronics, Inc. v. Commission, ECLI:EU:T:2015:609 (Sept. 9, 2015), available at http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?text=&docid=167150&pageIndex=0&doclang=EN&mode=lst&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=1105946; Case T-92/13, Koninklijke Philips Electronics NV v. Commission, ECLI:EU:T:2015:605 (Sept. 9, 2015), available at http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?text=&docid=167148&pageIndex=0&doclang=EN&mode=lst&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=1106096.
 Case T-82/13, Panasonic Corp. and MT Picture Display Co. Ltd v. Commission, ECLI:EU:T:2015:612 (Sept. 9, 2015), available at http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?text=&docid=167142&pageIndex=0&doclang=EN&mode=lst&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=1106828; Case T-104/13, Toshiba Corp. v. Commission, ECLI:EU:T:2015:610 (Sept. 9, 2015), available at http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?text=&docid=167141&pageIndex=0&doclang=EN&mode=lst&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=1108672.
 See Press Release, European Comm’n, Commission Welcomes General Court Rulings Upholding TV and Monitor Tubes Cartel Decision (Sept. 9, 2015), available at http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-15-5616_en.htm.
 Case C-597/13 P, Total SA v. Commission, ECLI:EU:C:2015:613 (Sept. 17, 2015), available at http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?text=&docid=167950&pageIndex=0&doclang=EN&mode=lst&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=1109285.
 Case C-634/13 P, Total Marketing Services SA v. Commission, ECLI:EU:C:2015:614 (Sept. 17, 2015), available at http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?text=&docid=167943&pageIndex=0&doclang=EN&mode=lst&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=1109423.
 Case C-597/13 P, Total SA v. Commission, ECLI:EU:C:2015:613 (Sept. 17, 2015), available at http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?text=&docid=167950&pageIndex=0&doclang=EN&mode=lst&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=1109285.
 Case C-194/14 P, AC-Treuhand AG v. Commission, ECLI:EU:C:2015:717 (Oct. 22, 2015), available at http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf;jsessionid=9ea7d2dc30dd9df8f27417114a328dedca29d1c33fa3.e34KaxiLc3qMb40Rch0SaxuSah50?text=&docid=170304&pageIndex=0&doclang=EN&mode=lst&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=1178877.
 Press Release, European Commission, Antitrust: Commission Welcomes Court Judgment Confirming Cartel Facilitator’s Liability (Oct. 22, 2015), available at http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_MEMO-15-5893_en.htm.
 Case T-9/11, Air Canada v. Commission, ECLI:EU:T:2015:994 (Dec. 16, 2015), available at http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?text=&docid=173090&pageIndex=0&doclang=EN&mode=req&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=1110108; Case T-28/11, Koninklijke Luchtvaart Maatschappij NV v. Commission, ECLI:EU:T:2015:995 (Dec. 16, 2015), available at http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?text=&docid=173092&pageIndex=0&doclang=EN&mode=req&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=1110649; Case T-36/11, Japan Airlines Co. Ltd v. Commission, ECLI:EU:T:2015:992 (Dec. 16, 2015), available at http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?text=&docid=173086&pageIndex=0&doclang=EN&mode=req&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=1110839; Case T-38/11, Cathay Pacific Airways Ltd v. Commission, ECLI:EU:T:2015:985 (Dec. 16, 2015), available at http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?text=&docid=173091&pageIndex=0&doclang=EN&mode=req&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=1110973; Case T-39/11, Cargolux Airlines International SA v. Commission, ECLI:EU:T:2015:991 (Dec. 16, 2015), available at http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?text=&docid=173082&pageIndex=0&doclang=EN&mode=req&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=1111108; Case T-40/11, Latam Airlines Group SA v. Commission, ECLI:EU:T:2015:986 (Dec. 16, 2015), available at http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?text=&docid=173088&pageIndex=0&doclang=EN&mode=req&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=1111298; Case T-43/11, Singapore Airlines Ltd v. Commission, ECLI:EU:T:2015:989 (Dec. 16, 2015), available at http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?text=&docid=173085&pageIndex=0&doclang=EN&mode=req&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=1111391; Case T-46/11, Deutsche Lufthansa AG v. Commission, ECLI:EU:T:2015:987 (Dec. 16, 2015), available at http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?text=&docid=173083&pageIndex=0&doclang=EN&mode=req&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=1111568; Case T-48/11, British Airways plc v. Commission, ECLI:EU:T:2015:988 (Dec. 16, 2015), available at http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?text=&docid=173089&pageIndex=0&doclang=EN&mode=req&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=1111727; Case T-56/11, SAS Cargo Group A/S v. Commission, ECLI:EU:T:2015:990 (Dec. 16, 2015), available at http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?text=&docid=173084&pageIndex=0&doclang=EN&mode=req&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=1111869; Case T-62/11, Air France-KLM v. Commission, ECLI:EU:T:2015:996 (Dec. 16, 2015), available at http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?text=&docid=173093&pageIndex=0&doclang=FR&mode=req&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=1112172; Case T-63/11, Société Air France SA v. Commission, ECLI:EU:T:2015:993 (Dec. 16, 2015), available at http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?text=&docid=173087&pageIndex=0&doclang=FR&mode=req&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=1112387 Case T-67/11, Martinair Holland NV v Commission, ECLI:EU:T:2015:984 (Dec. 16, 2015), available at http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?text=&docid=173081&pageIndex=0&doclang=EN&mode=req&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=1112063.
 Case C-172/14, INGPensii –Societate de Administrare a unui Fond de Pensii Administrat Privat SA v. Consiliul Concurentei, ECLI:EU:C:2015:484 (July 16, 2015), available at http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?text=&docid=165909&pageIndex=0&doclang=EN&mode=lst&dir=&occ=first&part=1&cid=1179553.
 Press Release, Bundeswettbewerbsbehörde, Geldbußenentscheidung gegen Samsung Electronics Austria GmbH (Nov. 4, 2015), available at http://www.bwb.gv.at/KartelleUndMarkmachtmissbrauch/Entscheidungen/Seiten/BWB-K-396-Geldbu%C3%9Fenentscheidung-gegen-Samsung-Electronics-Austria-GmbH.aspx.
 Press Release, Bundeswettbewerbsbehörde, Kartellobergericht erhöht Geldbußenentscheidung des Kartellgerichts gegen Lebensmittelunternehmen auf 30 Millionen (Nov. 30, 2015), available at http://www.bwb.gv.at/KartelleUndMarkmachtmissbrauch/Entscheidungen/Seiten/BWB-K-304-Kartellobergericht-erh%C3%B6ht-Geldbu%C3%9Fenentscheidung-des-Kartellgerichts-gegen-Lebensmittelunternehmen-auf-30-Millione.aspx.
 Press Release, Office for the Protection of Competition, Bid Rigging Construction Cartel Fined CZK 2.036 Billion (Nov. 6, 2015), available at http://www.uohs.cz/en/competition/news-competition/2034-bid-rigging-construction-cartel-fined-czk-2036-billion.html.
 Press Release, Danish Competition and Consumer Authority, Franchise Chain Has Fixed Selling Prices and Shared Markets of Supply with Respect to Milking Robots (June 25, 2014), available at https://www.en.kfst.dk/nyheder/kfst/english/decisions/20140625-franchise-chain-has-fixed-selling-prices-and-shared-markets/.
 Press Release, Danish Competition and Consumer Authority, Konkurrenceankenævnet: Aftaler om pris- og markedsdeling på Lely-malkerobotter var ulovlige (Oct. 1, 2015), available at http://www.kfst.dk/Indhold-KFST/Nyheder/Pressemeddelelser/2015/20151001-Konkurrenceankenaevnet-Aftaler-om-pris-og-markedsdeling-paa-Lelymalkerobotter-var-ulovlige?tc=E1F0993D44404965A4EDE3D3A9C35D6E.
 Décision no 15-D-17 du 30 novembre 2015 relative à des pratiques mises en oeuvre sur le marché de la téléphonie mobile à destination de la clientèle non résidentielle à La Réunion et à Mayotte (Nov. 30, 2015), available at http://www.autoritedelaconcurrence.fr/pdf/avis/15d17.pdf; Press Release, Autorité de la Concurrence, The Aurorité de la Concurrence Fines SFR and its Subsidiary in La Réunion 10.7 Million Euros for Implementing Abusive Practices on the “Business” Market (Nov. 30, 2015), available at http://www.autoritedelaconcurrence.fr/user/standard.php?id_rub=607&id_article=2670.
 Décision no 15-D-19 du 15 décembre 2015 relative à des pratiques mises en oeuvre dans les secteurs de la messagerie et de la messagerie express (Dec. 15, 2015), available at http://www.autoritedelaconcurrence.fr/pdf/avis/15d19.pdf; Press Release, Autorité de la Concurrence, Today the Autorité de la Concurrence Issues a Decision by Which it Fines Two Anticompetitive Agreements in the Delivery Service Industry for a Total Amount of 672.3 Million Euros (Dec. 15, 2015), available at http://www.autoritedelaconcurrence.fr/user/standard.php?id_rub=607&id_article=2679.
 More information about the Bundeskartellamt’s electronic whistle-blowing system can be found at https://www.bkms-system.net/bkwebanon/report/clientInfo?cin=2bkarta151.
 See Press Release, Bundeskartellamt, Bundeskartellamt Concludes Mattress Case with Another Fine (Oct. 22, 2015), available at http://www.bundeskartellamt.de/SharedDocs/Meldung/EN/Pressemitteilungen/2015/22_10_2015_Tempur.html?nn=3591286.
 See Press Release, Bundeskartellamt, First Fine Imposed for Resale Price Maintenance in Mattress Case (Aug. 22, 2014), available at http://www.bundeskartellamt.de/SharedDocs/Meldung/EN/Pressemitteilungen/2015/22_10_2015_Tempur.html?nn=3591286; Press Release, Bundeskartellamt, Further Fine Imposed for Resale Price Maintenance in Mattress Case (Feb. 6, 2015), available at http://www.bundeskartellamt.de/SharedDocs/Meldung/EN/Pressemitteilungen/2015/06_02_2015_Matratze.html?nn=3591286.
 Press Release, Bundeskartellamt, Bundeskartellamt Imposes Fines on Armaments Suppliers on Account of Price-Fixing Agreements (July 16, 2015), available at http://www.bundeskartellamt.de/SharedDocs/Meldung/EN/Pressemitteilungen/2015/16_07_2015_Laufpolster.html.
 Press Release, Bundeskartellamt, How to Spot Inadmissible Bid-Rigging Agreements – Bundeskartellamt Publishes Guidance Document for Contracting Entities (Aug. 8, 2015), available at http://www.bundeskartellamt.de/SharedDocs/Meldung/EN/Pressemitteilungen/2015/19_08_2015_Broschuere_Submissionsabsprachen.html.
 Papastratos Cigarette Manufacturing Company S.A. (Philip Morris International’ affiliate in Greece), British American Tobacco Hellas S.A., Karelia Cigarette Manufacturing Company S.A., Imperial Tobacco Hellas S.A. and Athanasiou S.A. (exclusive distributor of Japan Tobacco International and others).
 Mary Carolan, Flooring Company Faces Charges Over Price Fixing, The Irish Times (Sept. 14, 2015), available at http://www.irishtimes.com/business/retail-and-services/flooring-company-faces-charges-over-price-fixing-1.2351285.
 Aodhan O’Faolain, Seizure of CRH Document Comes before High Court, The Irish Times (Nov. 24, 2015), available at http://www.irishtimes.com/business/manufacturing/seizure-of-crh-document-comes-before-high-court-1.2442213.
 Press Release, ACM, ACM beboet medewerkers Burg B.V., waaronder de heer D, voor kartelafspraken (Aug. 11, 2015) available at https://www.acm.nl/nl/publicaties/publicatie/14603/ACM-beboet-medewerkers-Burg-BV-waaronder-de-heer-D-voor-kartelafspraken/.
 Press Release, ACM, ACM beboet producenten natuurazijn voor kartelafspraken (Aug. 11, 2015), available at https://www.acm.nl/nl/publicaties/publicatie/14614/ACM-beboet-producenten-natuurazijn-voor-kartelafspraken/.
 Press Release, ACM, Besluiten op bezwaar executieveilingen (Oct. 15, 2015), available at https://www.acm.nl/nl/publicaties/publicatie/14808/Besluiten-op-bezwaar-executieveilingen/.
 See Press Release, Office of Competition and Consumer Protection, UOKiK introduces statement of objections (Nov. 9, 2015), available at https://uokik.gov.pl/news.php?news_id=11895&news_page=1.
 See Press Release, Office of Competition and Consumer Protection, Explanations on the voluntary submission to penalty (Nov. 18, 2015), available at https://uokik.gov.pl/aktualnosci.php?news_id=12019&news_page=2.
 See Press Release, Autoridade da Concorrência, AdC condena cinco empresas por práticas anticoncorrenciais em concursos públicos para fornecimento de préfabricados à Parque Escolar (Oct. 10, 2015), available at http://www.concorrencia.pt/vPT/Noticias_Eventos/Comunicados/Paginas/Comunicado_AdC_201518.aspx.
 See Press Release, Autoridade da Concorrência, Portuguese Competition Authority Sends a Statement of Objections to Five Companies of Office Consumables (Oct. 16, 2015), available at http://www.concorrencia.pt/vEN/News_Events/Comunicados/Pages/PressRelease_201524.aspx.
 See CNMC, Jul. 28, 2015, (No. S/0482/13) (Spain), available at http://www.cnmc.es/es-es/competencia/buscadorde/expedientes.aspx?num=S/0482/13&ambito=Conductas&b=S/0482/13&p=5&ambitos=Concentraciones,Recursos,Sancionadores%20CCAA,Sancionadores%20Ley%2030,Vigilancia,Medidas%20cautelares,Conductas&estado=0§or=0&av=0.
 See Press Release, CNMC, La CNMC incoa expediente sancionador contra varias empresas de autobuses y la Federación Empresarial Balear de Transportes (FEBT) por posibles prácticas restrictivas de la competencia (Sept. 3, 2015), available at https://www.cnmc.es/en/node/323325.
 See Press Release, CNMC, La CNMC sanciona con 9,3 millones de euros a siete empresas de fabricación, alquiler y venta de construcciones modulares (Dec. 14, 2015), available at http://www.cnmc.es/Portals/0/Ficheros/notasdeprensa/2015/COMPETENCIA/20151214_NP_Sancion_Construcciones_modulares_vfinal.pdf.
 See S.T.S., May 22, 2015 (RJ. No 2397) (Spain), available at http://www.poderjudicial.es/search/doAction?action=contentpdf&databasematch=TS&reference=7406584&links=ley%2015/2007,%20defensa%20competencia&optimize=20150615&publicinterface=true.
 See S.T.S., Jun. 15, 2015 (RJ. No 1407) (Spain), available at http://supremo.vlex.es/vid/577772162.
 Press Release, Wettbewerbskommission, WEKO verbietet Hotelbuchungsplattformen wett-bewerbsbeschränkende Klauseln (Nov. 6, 2015), available at http://www.news.admin.ch/NSBSubscriber/message/attachments/41614.pdf.
 Press Release, Competition and Markets Authority, CMA confirms fine as it completes eye surgeons investigation (Aug. 5, 2015), available at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/cma-confirms-fine-as-it-completes-eye-surgeons-investigation.
 Letter, Competition and Markets Authority, CMA open letter to private medical practitioners (Dec. 3, 2015), available at https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/482193/Open_Letter_to_private_medical_practioners.pdf.
 The case was brought under the old cartel offence, which required a finding of dishonesty on the part of the accused. The requirement to prove dishonesty has since been removed for conduct occurring after April 1, 2014 and it will be interesting to see what effect this will have on future prosecutions.
 Press Release, Competition and Markets Authority, Director sentenced to 6 months for criminal cartel (Sept. 14, 2015), available at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/director-sentenced-to-6-months-for-criminal-cartel.
 Press Release, Serious Fraud Office, First LIBOR defendant on trial found guilty (Aug. 3, 2015), available at http://www.sfo.gov.uk/press-room/latest-press-releases/press-releases-2015/first-libor-defendant-on-trial-found-guilty.aspx.
 Case Summary, Competition and Markets Authority, Conduct in the modelling sector (Oct. 30, 2015), available at https://www.gov.uk/cma-cases/conduct-in-the-clothing-footwear-and-fashion-sector.
 Case Summary, Competition and Markets Authority, Online sales of discretionary consumer products (Dec. 4, 2015), available at https://www.gov.uk/cma-cases/online-sales-of-discretionary-consumer-products.
 Case Summary, Competition and Markets Authority, Sports equipment sector: anti-competitive practices (Nov. 18, 2015), available at https://www.gov.uk/cma-cases/sports-equipment-sector-anti-competitive-practices.
 Case Summary, Competition and Markets Authority, Leisure sector: anti-competitive practices (Dec. 15, 2015), available at https://www.gov.uk/cma-cases/leisure-sector-anti-competitive-practices.
 A copy of the Act can be found at: http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2015/15/contents/enacted.
 See Gibson Dunn, 2015 Mid-Year Criminal Antitrust and Competition Law Update at III.A.2.
 Ian Harper, et al., Competition Policy Review – Final Report (March 31, 2015), available at http://competitionpolicyreview.gov.au/files/2015/03/Competition-policy-review-report_online.pdf.
 Mark Briggs, New Turnbull government backs Harper reforms in Australia, Global Competition Review (Nov. 24, 2015), available at http://globalcompetitionreview.com/news/article/39888/new-turnbull-government-backs-harper-reforms-australia/.
 Letter from Rod Sims, ACCC Submissions in Response to Harper Review Final Report (May 29, 2015), available at https://www.accc.gov.au/system/files/Letter%20and%20Competition%20Policy%20Review%20Submission%20to%20Treasury.pdf.
 Miriam Kenner, Australian enforcer warns on Harper cartel reforms, Global Competition Review (June 2, 2015), available at http://globalcompetitionreview.com/news/article/38734/australian-enforcer-warns-harper-cartel-reforms/.
 Mark Briggs, New Turnbull government backs Harper reforms in Australia, Global Competition Review (Nov. 24, 2015), available at http://globalcompetitionreview.com/news/article/39888/new-turnbull-government-backs-harper-reforms-australia/; Australian Government, Australian Government Response to the Competition Policy Review (2015), available at http://www.treasury.gov.au/~/media/Treasury/Publications%20and%20Media/Publications/2015/Government%20response%20to%20the%20Competition%20Policy%20Review/Downloads/PDF/Govt_response_CPR.ashx.
 Mark Briggs, New Turnbull government backs Harper reforms in Australia, available at http://globalcompetitionreview.com/news/article/39888/new-turnbull-government-backs-harper-reforms-australia/.
 Press Release, Australian Consumer and Competition Commission, ACCC welcomes the Government’s response to the Harper Review (Nov. 24, 2015), available at http://www.accc.gov.au/media-release/accc-welcomes-the-government%E2%80%99s-response-to-the-harper-review.
 See Gibson Dunn, 2015 Mid-Year Criminal Antitrust and Competition Law Update at III.A.2.
 Rahul Rose & Tom Webb, Lawyers relieved after Australia returns to using civil settlements, Global Competition Review (Dec. 14, 2015), available at http://globalcompetitionreview.com/news/article/40146/lawyers-relieved-australia-returns-using-civil-settlements.
 Judgment Summary, High Court of Australia, Commonwealth of Australia v. Director, Fair Work Building Indus. Inspectorate & ORS Const., Forestry, Mining and Energy Union & ANOR v. Director, Fair Work Building Indus. Inspectorate & ANOR, available at http://www.hcourt.gov.au/assets/publications/judgment-summaries/2015/hca-46-2015-12-09.pdf.
 See Rahul Rose & Tom Webb, Lawyers relieved after Australia returns to using civil settlements, Global Competition Review (Dec. 14, 2015), available at http://globalcompetitionreview.com/news/article/40146/lawyers-relieved-australia-returns-using-civil-settlements.
 See Gibson Dunn, 2015 Mid-Year Criminal Antitrust and Competition Law Update at III.A.1.
 Letter from Rod Sims, ACCC Submissions in Response to Harper Review Final Report (May 29, 2015), available at https://www.accc.gov.au/system/files/Letter%20and%20Competition%20Policy%20Review%20Submission%20to%20Treasury.pdf.
 Press Release, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Alleged cartel conduct in the Canberra construction industry (July 30, 2015), available at http://www.accc.gov.au/media-release/alleged-cartel-conduct-in-the-canberra-construction-industry.
 Tom Madge-Wyld, ACCC loses two price-fixing appeals on same day, Global Competition Review (July 31, 2015), available at http://globalcompetitionreview.com/news/article/39187/accc-loses-two-price-fixing-appeals-day/.
 Sonya Lalli, ACCC appeals against Flight Centre decision, Global Competition Review (Sept. 1, 2015), available at http://globalcompetitionreview.com/news/article/39395/accc-appeals-against-flight-centre-decision/.
 China’s SAIC Initiated 14 New Investigations This Year, MLex (Dec. 2, 2015), available at http://www.mlex.com/GlobalAntitrust/DetailView.aspx?cid=744866&siteid=192.
 Liyan Qi and Carlos Tejada, China Fines Eight Shipping Companies for Price Fixing, Wall St. J. (Dec. 28, 2015), available at http://www.wsj.com/articles/china-fines-eight-shipping-companies-for-price-fixing-1451274348.
 Press Release, China State Council, State Council on Issuing Notice of the State Council Legislative Work Program 2015 (Sept. 2, 2015), available at http://www.gov.cn/zhengce/content/2015-09/02/content_10127.htm.
 Senior China Advisers Solicit Views on Revision of Antimonopoly Law, With Dec. 11 Deadline, MLex (Dec. 1, 2015), available at http://www.mlex.com/GlobalAntitrust/DetailView.aspx?cid=744297&siteid=192.
 Press Release, Hong Kong Competition Commission, Competition Ordinance Comes into Full Effect Today (Dec. 14, 2015), available at https://www.compcomm.hk/en/media/press/files/Competition_Ordinance_Comes_into_Full_Effect_Today_EN.pdf.
 Text of the Hong Kong Competition Ordinance, available at https://www.compcomm.hk/en/legislation_guidance/legislation/legislation/files/CAP_619_e_b5.pdf.
 Press Release, Hong Kong Competition Commission, Competition Commission Publishes Enforcement Policy and Cartel Leniency Policy (Nov. 19, 2015), available at https://www.compcomm.hk/en/media/press/files/20151119_PressRel_Policy_Documents_Eng.pdf.
 Press Release, Hong Kong Communications Authority, The Communications Authority’s Position on Handling Leniency Applications in respect of the Telecommunications and Broadcasting Sectors under the Competition Ordinance (Nov. 19, 2015), available at http://www.coms-auth.hk/en/media_focus/press_releases/index_id_1112.html.
 Press Release, Hong Kong Competition Commission, Competition Commission and Communications Authority Issue Guidelines under the Competition Ordinance (Jul. 27, 2015), available at https://www.compcomm.hk/en/media/press/files/20150727_PressRel_Guidelines_Eng.pdf.
 Press Release, Hong Kong Competition Commission, Competition Commission Publishes Enforcement Policy and Cartel Leniency Policy (Nov. 19, 2015), available at https://www.compcomm.hk/en/media/press/files/20151119_PressRel_Policy_Documents_Eng.pdf.
 See Gibson Dunn, 2012 Year-End Criminal Antitrust and Competition Law Update at 8 (i), available at https://www.gibsondunn.com/2012-year-end-criminal-antitrust-and-competition-law-update/; Builders’ Ass’n of India v. Cement Mfrs.’ Ass’n, Case No. 29/2010 (Competition Comm’n of India, June 20, 2012), available at http://www.cci.gov.in/May2011/OrderOfCommission/CaseNo29of2010MainOrder.pdf; see also Press Release, Competition Comm’n of India, CCI Issues Order Against Cement Mfrs., Imposes Penalty of More than Six Thousand Crores on 11 Cement Companies (June 21, 2012), available at http://www.pib.nic.in/newsite/erelease.aspx?relid=84974.
 In the matter of Appeals under Section 53-B of the Competition Act, 2002 against order dated 20.06.2012 passed by the Competition Commission of India in Case No. 29/2010, Appeal No. 105 of 2012 & I.A. No. 36/2013 (Competition Appellate Tribunal, Dec. 11, 2015), available at http://compat.nic.in/upload/PDFs/judgement-orders-dec2015/JUDGEMENT%20FINAL%20CEMENT%20ORDER%2011.12.2015.pdf.
 Press Release, Competition Comm’n of India, CCI imposes penalties upon Airlines for concerted action in fixing fuel surcharge on cargo transport (Nov. 17, 2015), available at http://www.cci.gov.in/sites/default/files/press_release/Press%20release-%20Air%20Cargo.pdf.
 Press Release, Competition Comm’n of India, CCI Imposes Penalty on KFEF and its two Office Bearers for contravening Competition Law (Jul. 29, 2015), available at http://www.cci.gov.in/sites/default/files/press_release/pr162014.pdf.
 Press Release, Competition Comm’n of India, CCI issues order against Public Sector Insurance Companies for Bid Rigging (Jul. 17, 2015), available at http://www.cci.gov.in/sites/default/files/press_release/pr17.pdf.
 Tom Madge-Wyld, Civil servant replaces retiring Indian competition chair, Global Competition Review (Jan. 7, 2016), available at http://globalcompetitionreview.com/news/article/40253/civil-servant-replaces-retiring-indian-competition-chair/?utm_source=Law%20Business%20Research&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=6637371_GCR%20Briefing&dm_i=1KSF,3Y9FF,9GQ80Q,E98LK,1.
 KPPU Investigates Existence of Possible Beef Cartel, The Citizen Daily (Aug. 21, 2015), available at http://en.citizendaily.net/kppu-investigates-existence-of-possible-beef-cartel/; Press Release, Indonesia Commission for the Supervision of Business Competition, KPPU Inspects the Cipinang Wholesale Rice Market in an Unannounced Fashion , available at http://eng.kppu.go.id/?p=3439.
 Jokowi Receives KPPU to Discuss Food Cartel Eradication, Tempo.Co (Nov. 14, 2015), available at http://en.tempo.co/read/news/2015/11/14/055718833/Jokowi-Receives-KPPU-to-Discuss-Food-Cartel-Eradication; Mark Briggs, Rice Cartel Suspected in Indonesia, Global Competition Review (Dec. 7, 2015), available at http://globalcompetitionreview.com/news/article/40015/rice-cartel-suspected-indonesia/?utm_source=Law%20Business%20Research&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=6536678_GCR%20Briefing&dm_i=1KSF,3W3QE,9GQ80Q,E12CO,1.
 Arlan Thayib, Indonesian Authority Rejects Criminal Sanctions in Law Overhaul, Lexology (Oct. 28, 2015), available at http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=6dbb3aab-61a1-459d-8492-caf74d06fc38.
 Press Release, Japan Free Trade Commission, The JFTC Issued Cease and Desist Orders and Surcharge Payment Orders to the Participants in Bidding for Snow-Melting Equipment Works for Hokuriku Shinkansen Ordered by the Japan Railway Construction, Transportation and Technology Agency (Oct. 9, 2015), available at http://www.jftc.go.jp/en/pressreleases/yearly-2015/October/151009.html.
 Press Release, Japan Free Trade Commission, The Japan Fair Trade Commission Concluded Memorandum on Cooperation with the National Development and Reform Commission of the People’s Republic of China (Oct. 13, 2015), available at http://www.jftc.go.jp/en/pressreleases/yearly-2015/October/151013.html.
 Press Release, Malay. Competition Comm’n, MyCC Warned Nursery and Nanny Association (Aug. 4, 2015), available at http://www.mycc.gov.my/sites/default/files/media-releases/News-Release-MyCC-warned-nursery-and-nanny-association_03082015_PDF.pdf.
 Faaez Samadi, Myanmar Passes Competition Law, Global Competition Review (Mar. 18, 2015), available at http://globalcompetitionreview.com/news/article/38222/myanmar-passes-competition-law; David Fruitman, Myanmar’s New Competition Law: An Important First Step in the Right Direction, Lexology (Mar. 13, 2015), available at http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=c3be34e6-5c43-42ee-851c-5eab8a084072.
 See Gibson Dunn, 2015 Mid-Year Criminal Antitrust and Competition Law Update at III.H.
 Sonya Lalli, New Zealand takes criminal sanctions off the table, Global Competition Review (Dec. 9, 2015), available at http://globalcompetitionreview.com/news/article/40118/new-zealand-takes-criminal-sanctions-off-table/.
 Press Release, Commerce Commission, Livestock companies fined over $3 million in price fixing case (Dec. 22, 2015), available at http://www.comcom.govt.nz/the-commission/media-centre/media-releases/detail/2015/livestock-companies-fined-over-3-million-in-price-fixing-case.
 Mark Briggs, New Zealand issues fines for attempted anti-competitive behaviour, Global Competition Review (Dec. 3, 2015), available at http://globalcompetitionreview.com/news/article/39998/new-zealand-issues-fines-attempted-anti-competitive-behaviour/.
 Press Release, Competition Comm’n of Pak., CCP Begins Probe into Private School’s [sic] Fee Increase (Aug. 19, 2015), available at http://www.cc.gov.pk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=439&Itemid=151.
 Fee Increases by Private Schools Come under CCP Scanner, The News (Aug. 20, 2015), available at http://www.cc.gov.pk/images/Downloads/news_coverage/2015/20_aug_2015.pdf, at 3.
 CCP Issues Order to CEOs, Directors of Eight Schools, Business Recorder (Sept. 22, 2015), available at http://www.cc.gov.pk/images/Downloads/news_coverage/2015/22%20_sep_15.pdf, at 2.
 Press Release, Competition Comm’n of Pak., CCP Begins Probe into Private School’s [sic] Fee Increase (Aug. 19, 2015), available at http://www.cc.gov.pk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=439&Itemid=151; Mehtab Haider, CCP Issues Notice to 8 elite Schools on Fees Hike, The News (Sept. 22, 2015), available at http://www.cc.gov.pk/images/Downloads/news_coverage/2015/22%20_sep_15.pdf, at 3.
 Kalbe Ali, Competition Commission Also Swings into Action, Dawn (Sept. 22, 2015), available at http://www.cc.gov.pk/images/Downloads/news_coverage/2015/22%20_sep_15.pdf, at 1.
 Press Release, Competition Comm’n of Pak., CCP Passes Special Order to Seek Information from Private Airlines Regarding Hike in Air Fares (Oct. 6, 2015), available at http://www.cc.gov.pk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=440&Itemid=151.
 CCP Issues Show-Cause Notice to PPA, Business Recorder (Nov. 18, 2015), available at http://www.cc.gov.pk/images/Downloads/news_coverage/2015/18_nov_2015.pdf, at 1.
 Shahbaz Rana, Office of Fair Trade Launches Probe, Tribune (Dec. 4, 2015), available at http://tribune.com.pk/story/1003518/life-saving-drugs-office-of-fair-trade-launches-probe/.
 CCP Focusing on Sugar, Cigarettes, Auto and Other Sectors, Business Recorder (Dec. 4, 2015), available at http://www.cc.gov.pk/images/Downloads/news_coverage/2015/4_dec_2015.pdf, at 3.
 CCP Probing ‘Cartelisation’ of Sugar Tycoons, The News (Dec. 4, 2015), available at http://www.thenews.com.pk/print/79382-ccp-probing-cartelisation-of-sugar-tycoons.
 [CCP] to Hold National Road Show on Competition Law, Business Recorder (Dec. 4, 2015), available at http://www.cc.gov.pk/images/Downloads/news_coverage/2015/4_dec_2015.pdf, at 2.
 See Gibson Dunn, 2015 Mid-Year Criminal Antitrust and Competition Law Update at III.J.
 Geronimo Sy, Philippines: Department of Justice, Global Competition Review (Dec. 16, 2015), available at http://globalcompetitionreview.com/reviews/69/sections/235/chapters/2761/philippines-department-justice/.
 Philippine Competition Act, Rep. Act No. 10667, §§ 5, 12 (July 21, 2015), available at http://www.gov.ph/2015/07/21/republic-act-no-10667/.
Id. §§ 6, 7, 51.
Id. § 13.
Id. § 14.
Id. § 29.
Id. § 41; Price Act, Rep. Act No. 7581, §§ 3(1), 3(8) (May 27, 1992), available at http://www.dilg.gov.ph/PDF_File/issuances/republic_acts/RA_7581.PDF.
 Philippine Competition Act, § 53.
 Press Release, Competition Comm’n of Singapore, CCS Consults on Proposed Changes to its Guidelines, (Sept. 25, 2015), available at https://www.ccs.gov.sg/media-and-publications/media-releases/ccs-consults-on-proposed-changes-to-its-guidelines.
 Competition Comm’n of Singapore, CCS Guidelines on Lenient Treatment for Undertakings Coming Forward with Information on Cartel Activity, available at https://www.ccs.gov.sg/public-register-and-consultation/public-consultation-items/public-consultation-on-proposed-changes-to-ccs-guidelines?type=public_consultation (follow “Draft CCS Guidelines on Lenient Treatment for Undertakings Coming Forward with Information on Cartel Activity” hyperlink); Competition Comm’n of Singapore, CCS Practice Statement on the Fast Track Procedure for Section 34 and Section 47 Cases, available at https://www.ccs.gov.sg/public-register-and-consultation/public-consultation-items/public-consultation-on-proposed-changes-to-ccs-guidelines?type=public_consultation (follow “Draft CCS Practice Statement on the Fast Track Procedure for Section 24 and 47 Cases” hyperlink).
 Press Release, Competition Comm’n of Singapore, CCS Consults on Proposed Changes to its Guidelines, (Sept. 25, 2015), available at https://www.ccs.gov.sg/media-and-publications/media-releases/ccs-consults-on-proposed-changes-to-its-guidelines.
 Competition Comm’n of Singapore, CCS Guidelines on Lenient Treatment for Undertakings Coming Forward with Information on Cartel Activity, available at https://www.ccs.gov.sg/public-register-and-consultation/public-consultation-items/public-consultation-on-proposed-changes-to-ccs-guidelines?type=public_consultation (follow “Draft CCS Guidelines on Lenient Treatment for Undertakings Coming Forward with Information on Cartel Activity” hyperlink).
 Tom Webb, Singapore Seeks to Introduce Fast-Track Leniency Procedure, Global Competition Review (Sept. 28, 2015), available at http://globalcompetitionreview.com/news/article/39560/singapore-seeks-introduce-fast-track-leniency-procedure/.
 Kim & Chang, Korea Fair Trade Commission Amends Notification on Mitigation or Exemption of Corrective Measures Against Leniency Applicants of Improper Concerted Acts (Apr. 2015), available at http://www.kimchang.com/newsletter/20150210/legal/en/newsletter_legal_en_april2015_article06.html.
 Press Release, Korea Fair Trade Comm’n, KFTC Initiates Public Comment Period on the Draft Announcement on Investigation Procedure Rules (Nov. 24, 2015), available at http://eng.ftc.go.kr/bbs.do?command=getList&type_cd=52&pageId=0305 (follow “No. 258, KFTC Initiates Public Comment Period on the Drat Announcement on Investigation Procedure Rules” hyperlink).
 Press Release, Korea Fair Trade Comm’n, KFTC Initiates Public Comment Period on the Amendment to Its Leniency Program (Nov. 23, 2015), available at http://eng.ftc.go.kr/bbs.do?command=getList&type_cd=52&pageId=0305 (follow “No. 257, KFTC Initiates Public Comment Period on the Amendment to Its Leniency Program” hyperlink).
 Press Release, Korea Fair Trade Comm’n, KFTC Initiates Public Comment Period on the Amendment to Its Case Procedure Rules (Nov. 25, 2015), available at http://eng.ftc.go.kr/bbs.do?command=getList&type_cd=52&pageId=0305 (follow “No. 259, KFTC Initiates Public Comment Period on the Amendment to Its Case Procedure Rules” hyperlink).
 Press Release, Korea Fair Trade Comm’n, The KFTC Signed MOU with the U.S. Antitrust Agencies (Sept. 9, 2015), available at http://eng.ftc.go.kr/bbs.do?command=getList&type_cd=52&pageId=0305 (follow hyperlink to page 2, and then follow “No. 246, The KFTC Signed MOU with the U.S. Antitrust Agencies” hyperlink)
 Press Release, Korea Fair Trade Comm’n, KFTC Sanctioned Bid Rigging in Section 5 of West Coast Line (Hongseong-Songsan) Double Track Railway Construction Project (Oct. 2, 2015), available at http://eng.ftc.go.kr/bbs.do?command=getList&type_cd=52&pageId=0305 (follow hyperlink to page 2, and then follow “No. 248, KFTC Sanctioned Bid Rigging in Section 5 of West Coast Line (Hongseong-Songsan) Double Track Railway Construction Project” hyperlink)
 Press Release, Korea Fair Trade Comm’n, KFTC Sanctions Bid Riggings in Five Infrastructure Construction Projects Including Wanju-Gun Government Office Building and Administration Town Construction Project, etc. (Aug. 4, 2015), available at http://eng.ftc.go.kr/bbs.do?command=getList&type_cd=52&pageId=0305 (follow hyperlink to page 2, and then follow “No. 243, KFTC Sanctions Bid Riggings in Five Infrastructure Construction Projects Including Wanju-Gun Government Office Building and Administration Town Construction Project, etc.” hyperlink).
 Press Release, Korea Fair Trade Comm’n, KFTC Sanctions Bid Rigging in 4 Wastewater Treatment Facility Construction Projects Including Iksan General Industrial Complex Wastewater Treatment Facility (July 24, 2015), available at http://eng.ftc.go.kr/bbs.do?command=getList&type_cd=52&pageId=0305 (follow hyperlink to page 2, and then follow “No. 242, KFTC Sanctions Bid Rigging in 4 Wastewater Treatment Facility Construction Projects Including Iksan General Industrial Complex Wastewater Treatment Facility” hyperlink).
 Press Release, Korea Fair Trade Comm’n, KFTC Sanctioned Bid Riggings of Tenders by the Korea Rail Network Authority for the Supply of Electric Wires (June 25, 2015), available at http://eng.ftc.go.kr/bbs.do?command=getList&type_cd=52&pageId=0305 (follow hyperlink to page 3, and then follow “No. 237, KFTC Sanctioned Bid Riggings of Tenders by the Korea Rail Network Authority for the Supply of Electric Wires” hyperlink).
 Press Release, Korea Fair Trade Comm’n, KFTC Sanctioned Cartel in the Elevator Parts Manufacturing Industry (July 23, 2015), available at http://eng.ftc.go.kr/bbs.do?command=getList&type_cd=52&pageId=0305 (follow hyperlink to page 3, and then follow “No. 240, KFTC Sanctioned Cartel in the Elevator Parts Manufacturing Industry” hyperlink).
 Press Release, Korea Fair Trade Comm’n, KFTC Sanctioned Cartel in the Compound Feed Market (July 2, 2015), available at http://eng.ftc.go.kr/bbs.do?command=getList&type_cd=52&pageId=0305 (follow hyperlink to page 3, and then follow “No. 239, KFTC Sanctioned Cartel in the Compound Feed Market” hyperlink).
 Press Release, Korea Fair Trade Comm’n, KFTC Sanctioned the Cartel of Manufacturers and Marketers of Crawlers (June 17, 2015), available at http://eng.ftc.go.kr/bbs.do?command=getList&type_cd=52&pageId=0305 (follow hyperlink to page 3, and then follow “No. 235, KFTC Sanctions the Cartel of Manufacturers and Marketers of Crawlers” hyperlink).
 Press Release, Korea Fair Trade Comm’n, KFTC Applies Sanctions Against Unfair Cartel Activity of Manufacturers of Rubber Roll for Paper Manufacturing (June 9, 2015), available at http://eng.ftc.go.kr/bbs.do?command=getList&type_cd=52&pageId=0305 (follow hyperlink to page 3, and then follow “No. 234, KFTC Applies Sanctions Against Unfair Cartel Activity of Manufacturers of Rubber Roll for Paper Manufacturing” hyperlink).
 Sonya Lalli, Korea Indicts Japanese Company for Price Fixing, Global Competition Review (Sept. 15, 2015), available at http://globalcompetitionreview.com/news/article/39474/korea-indicts-japanese-company-price-fixing/.
 PaRR, Nongshim appeal: Korea’s Supreme Court cites lack of evidence, remands Nongshim price-rigging case (Dec. 24, 2015), available at http://app.parr-global.com/intelligence/view/1344855.
 Press Release, Taiwan Fair Trade Comm’n (Dec. 9, 2015), available at
See Gibson Dunn, 2015 Mid-Year Criminal Antitrust and Competition Law Update at I.A.2.g.
 Shaimaa Al-Aees, ECA Refers 4 Pharmaceutical Distribution Companies to Prosecutor General, Daily News Egypt (Dec. 1, 2015), available at http://www.dailynewsegypt.com/2015/12/01/eca-refers-4-pharmaceutical-distribution-companies-to-prosecutor-general/.
 Press Release, Isr. Antitrust Auth., The Antitrust Authority Has Indicted the Textbook Cartel (Aug. 31, 2015), available at http://www.antitrust.gov.il/files/33767/Textbooks_up.pdf.
 Sonya Lalli, Saudi Cartel Penalty Upheld, Global Competition Review (Aug. 27, 2015), available at http://globalcompetitionreview.com/news/article/39376/saudi-cartel-penalty-upheld/?utm_source=Law+Business+Research&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=6098801_GCR+Briefing&dm_i=1KSF,3MPV5,9GQ80Q,D1WHW,1.
 Press Release, Turkish Competition Auth., Investigation about Aslanlar Metal Alüminyum P.V.C. Plastik İmalatı İth. İhr. San. ve Tic. Ltd. Şti. and Solar-San Vakumlu Cam Tüp Üretim San. ve Tic. A.Ş. Initiated (Nov. 17, 2015), available at http://www.rekabet.gov.tr/en-US/News/Investigation-about-Aslanlar-Metal-Aluminyum-PVC-Plastik-Imalati-Ith-Ihr-San-ve-Tic-Ltd-Sti-and-Solar-San-Vakumlu-Cam-Tup-Uretim-San-ve-Tic-AS-Initiated; Press Release, Turkish Competition Auth., Investigation Initiated on the İzmir Chamber of Jewelers (July 24, 2015), available at http://www.rekabet.gov.tr/en-US/News/Investigation-Initiated-on-the-Izmir-Chamber-of-Jewelers.
 Press Release, Bots. Competition Auth., Infant Milk Formula Application Is Dismissed, 4 Botswana Competition Bulletin, no. 3 (2015), at 2–3, available at http://www.competitionauthority.co.bw/sites/default/files/Botswana%20Competition%20Bulletin%20%20Issue%204%20Volume%203.pdf.
 Christabel Ligami, East Africa: States Delay East Africa Competition Body, The East African (Oct. 17, 2015), available at https://www.theeastafrican.co.ke/business/States-delay-East-Africa-competition-body-/-/2560/2918080/-/8ch1rfz/-/index.html.
 Elizabeth Sisenda, East Africa: Competition Law Will Boost EAC Economy, The Star (Nov. 4, 2015), available at https://allafrica.com/stories/201511040268.html.
 Press Release, Malawi Competition and Fair Trading Comm’n, H.E. President Prof. Arthur Peter Mutharika Approves Reforms of the Competition and Consumer Protection Regime in Malawi (Sept. 18, 2015), available at http://www.cftc.mw/index.php/2013-12-16-09-56-37/press-releases/123-h-e-president-prof-arthur-peter-mutharika-approves-reforms-of-the-competition-and-consumer-protection-regime-in-malawi?tmpl=component&print=1&layout=default&page=.
 Morocco Merger Control, Global Legal Insights, available at http://www.globallegalinsights.com/practice-areas/merger-control/merger-control/morocco.
 King Mohammed’s Speech Before Moroccan Parliament, Morocco World News (Oct. 9, 2015), available at http://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2015/10/169988/king-mohammeds-speech-before-moroccan-parliament/.
 Peterson Tumwebaze, How Creation of Competition Inspectorate Authority Will Check Bad Trade Practices, The New Times (Mar. 31, 2015), available at http://www.newtimes.co.rw/section/article/2015-03-31/187410/.
 Triphomus Muyagu, New Body to Ensure Consumer Protection, The Rwanda Focus (May 8, 2015), available at http://www.focus.rw/wp/2015/05/08/new-body-to-ensure-consumer-protection/.
 Press Release, Competition Comm’n of S. Afr., Competition Commission Raids Offices of Three Recruitment Advertising Agencies in Gauteng (Sept. 23, 2015), available at http://www.compcom.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Competition-Commission-raids-offices-of-three-recruitment-advertising-agencies.pdf.
 Press Release, Competition Comm’n of S. Afr., Competition Commission Raids Furniture Removal Companies For the Second Time (Sept. 30, 2015), available at http://www.compcom.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Competition-Commission-raids-furniture-removal-companies-for-the-second-time.pdf.
 Press Release, Competition Comm’n of S. Afr., Competition Commission Raids Offices of Liquefied Petroleum Gas Suppliers (Oct. 14, 2015), available at http://www.compcom.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Competition-Commission-raids-offices-of-LPG-suppliers.pdf.
 Press Release, Competition Comm’n of S. Afr., Competition Commission Finalizes Its Investigation of the Construction Sector (Oct. 26, 2015), available at http://www.compcom.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Commission-finalises-its-investigation-of-the-construction-sector.pdf.
 Press Release, Competition Comm’m of S. Afr., Shipping Liner Admits Liability For Price Fixing, Market Allocation and Collusive Tendering (June 30, 2015), available at http://www.compcom.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Shipping-Liner-admits-liability-for-price-fixing-market-allocation-and-collusive-tendering.pdf; Press Release, Competition Comm’m of S. Afr., Another Shipping Liner Admits Liability For Price Fixing, Market Allocation and Collusive Tendering (July 30, 2015), available at http://www.compcom.co.za/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Another-shipping-liner-admits-liability-for-price-fixing-market-allocation-and-collusive-tendering.pdf.
 Consent Orders CO083Jul15, Competition Tribunal of S. Afr., http://www.comptrib.co.za/cases/consent-order/retrieve_case/1952 (last visited Dec. 15, 2015); Mark Briggs, South Africa Fines Insolvent Fuel Company, Global Competition Review (Aug. 24, 2015), available at http://globalcompetitionreview.com/rss/news/article/39349/.
 Tom Madge-Wyld, South African Court Confirms Leniency Rejection, Global Competition Review (Nov. 5, 2015), available at http://globalcompetitionreview.com/news/article/39778/south-african-court-confirms-leniency-rejection/.
 Apply for leniency, Competition Comm’n of S. Afr., http://www.compcom.co.za/apply-for-leniency/ (last visited Dec. 15, 2015).
 Tom Madge-Wyld, South African Court Confirms Leniency Rejection, Global Competition Review (Nov. 5, 2015), available at http://globalcompetitionreview.com/news/article/39778/south-african-court-confirms-leniency-rejection/.
 Africa News Agency, 2010 World Cup Construction Colluders To Pay R64.1m, eNews Channel Africa (Dec. 10, 2015), available at https://www.enca.com/south-africa/2010-world-cup-construction-colluders-pay-r641m; Fifi Peters, Murray & Roberts Fined an Additional R64.1m For Collusive Tendering, BDLive (Dec. 10, 2015), available at http://www.bdlive.co.za/business/industrials/2015/12/10/murray-roberts-fined-an-additional-r64.1m-for-collusive-tendering.
 Mark Briggs, South African Court Strikes Out Leniency Applicant’s Follow-On Exposure, Global Competition Review (Nov. 16, 2015), available at http://globalcompetitionreview.com/news/article/39835/south-african-court-strikes-leniency-applicants-follow-on-exposure/; Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr, Supreme Court of Appeal Delivers Ruling Regarding the Enforcement of Civil Claims Against Successful Leniency Applicants, Lexology (Nov. 30, 2015), available at http://www.lexology.com/library/detail.aspx?g=f17702fd-93dd-4523-87dc-eec9505d9ffc.
The following Gibson Dunn lawyers assisted in preparing this client update: Rachel Brass, Jens-Olrik Murach, Deirdre Taylor, Sebastien Evrard, Scott Hammond, Trey Nicoud, Michael Walther, Josh Dick, Matt Parrott, Caeli Higney, Jeremy Robison, Kevin Yeh, and Sloane Rosenthal, with additional contributions from Nicolas Autet, Pablo Figueroa, Ilias Georgiopoulos, Alejandro Guerrero-Perez, John McKellar, Laura Vlachos, Helen Avunjian, Christian Briggs, Sheli Chabon, Diane Chan, Jim Doody, David Glanton, Matthew Greenfield, Shannon Han, Joe Hansen, Kamola Kobildjanova, Ryan Levan, Eung Sun Lim, Ian Long, Kat McClain, James McKee, John McKellar, Jason McKenney, Tom Pack, Charles Proctor, Blake Shinoda, Carolyn Small, Micah Sucherman, Indraneel Sur, Jessica Wright, Royce Zeisler, Timothy Zimmerman.
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