Criminal Cases

USA – Mar 2017 – “Kiekert AG, an automotive parts manufacturer based in Heiligenhaus, Germany, has agreed to plead guilty and to pay a $6.1 million criminal fine for its role in a conspiracy to rig bids of side-door latches and latch minimodules installed in cars sold in the United States and elsewhere, the Department of Justice announced today.”

USA – Nov 2016 – “Usui Kokusai Sangyo Kaisha Ltd. (Usui), an automotive parts manufacturer based in Shimizu, Japan, has agreed to plead guilty and pay a $7.2 million criminal fine for its role in a criminal conspiracy involving automotive steel tubes sold to automobile manufacturers in the United States and elsewhere, the Department of Justice announced today.

USA – Aug 2016 – “Rubycon Corporation, Elna Co., Ltd. and Holy Stone Holdings Co., Ltd. will plead guilty for their roles in a conspiracy to fix prices for electrolytic capacitors sold to customers in the United States and elsewhere”.

USA – Aug 2016 – “Hitachi Automotive Systems Ltd. has agreed to plead guilty and to pay a criminal fine of at least $55.48 million for its role in a conspiracy to allocate markets, fix prices and rig bids for shock absorbers installed in automobiles sold to U.S. consumers” – prosecuted by DOJ.

Aus – Jul 2016 – Australia’s first cartel prosecution – indictment filed.

Civil Cases

USA – Mar 2017 – “The Department of Justice announced today that it has reached a settlement that will prohibit DIRECTV and its parent corporation, AT&T, from illegally sharing confidential, forward-looking information with competitors.  The department’s Antitrust Division filed suit on Nov. 2, 2016, alleging that DIRECTV was the ringleader of a series of unlawful information exchanges between DIRECTV and three of its competitors – Cox Communications Inc., Charter Communications Inc. and AT&T (before it acquired DIRECTV) – during the companies’ negotiations to carry the SportsNet LA “Dodgers Channel.” SportsNet LA holds the exclusive rights to telecast almost all live Dodgers games in the Los Angeles area.   The settlement, which will obtain all of the relief sought by the department in its lawsuit, will ensure that when DIRECTV and AT&T negotiate with providers of video programming, including negotiations to telecast the Dodgers Channel, they will not illegally share competitively-sensitive information with their rivals. The settlement also requires the companies to monitor certain communications their programming executives have with their rivals, and to implement antitrust training and compliance programs.”

Aus – Dec 2016 – “The Federal Court has found that German construction group holding company Hochtief Aktiengesellschaft (Hochtief AG) engaged in insider trading in contravention of section 1043A(1)(d) of the Corporations Act 2001 on 29 January 2014, and has ordered Hochtief AG to pay a financial penalty of $400,000, as well as ASIC’s legal costs.” Australian Securities and Investments Commission v Hochtief Aktiengesellschaft [2016] FCA 1489.

Aus – Dec 2016 – $15M in penalties for attempted cartel conduct by ANZ and Macquarie in ACCC v Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Limited [2016] FCA 1516.

Aus – Dec 2016 – ACCC prevails in ACCC v Flight Centre Travel Group Ltd [2016] HCA 49 – High Court accepts that Flight Centre and certain airlines were competitors, despite Flight Centre also acting as agent for those airlines; returned to the Federal Court for penalty determination.

Aus – Jul 2016 – ACCC penalty proceeding partly dismissed, partly proven – two overseas companies alleged to have market shared and price fixed – ACCC v Prysmian Cavi E Sistemi S.R.L. (No 12) [2016] FCA 822 – ACCC press release here.

Administrative Actions

 

No Enforcement Action: Negotiation, Consumer Education, etc

UK – Feb 2017 – “In August 2016, through market intelligence, we uncovered evidence suggesting potential competition law infringements by firms engaged in syndicated lending. The potential infringements related to disclosures or exchanges of competitively sensitive information relating to the terms and conditions of such lending. We engaged with the firms by way of formal ‘on notice’ letters, which has resulted in firms undertaking several initiatives to strengthen their competition law compliance, including more robust training for market facing staff.”

Aus – Sep 2016 – “Following an investigation by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Expedia and Booking.com have each reached agreement to amend price and availability parity clauses in their contracts with Australian hotels and accommodation providers.”

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