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Competition

Competition: Procedure for settling cartel cases

18.10.2013

PR(13)78

The EFTA Surveillance Authority has issued a notice that sets out the framework for the settlement of cartel cases.

Under this procedure, parties, having seen the evidence in the Authority file, choose to acknowledge their involvement in the cartel and their liability for it. In return for this acknowledgement, the Authority can reduce the fine imposed on the parties by 10%.

Settlements aim to simplify the administrative proceedings. This new procedure mirrors the already existing settlement procedure applied in cases under EU law and thus brings the Authority's practice in line with the European Commission's.

The Authority will not enter into negotiations or bargain in respect of the use of evidence or the penalties to be imposed, but it can reward the parties' cooperation by reducing the fine imposed upon them. It is also worth noting that the parties neither have a right nor a duty to settle.

Under the new settlement procedure, the parties are informed of the objections against them and the evidence supporting the objections, allowing the parties to give their views before formal objections are sent. If the parties decide to introduce a settlement submission acknowledging the objections, the Authority's statement of objections could be much shorter than a statement of objections issued without such cooperation.

The settlement procedure also means that other procedural steps can be simplified allowing the Authority to proceed swiftly to the adoption of a final decision after consulting the EFTA States. However, the Authority retains the possibility, until the final decision, to revert to the standard procedure.

Similarly, if no settlement were to be explored or reached, the standard procedure would apply by default.

The Authority's settlement notice explains the new procedure in detail and provides guidance for the legal and business community.

 

For further information, please contact:

Andreas Kjeldsberg Pihl
Press & Information Officer
tel. (+32)(0)2 286 18 66

mob. (+32)(0)492 90 01 87




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