A Call to Arms to Protect Latin American Leniency Programs – Carlos Mena-Labarthe, Jaime Barahona, Vinicius Marques de Carvalho and Eduardo Frade1
In a recent article published by Competition Policy International2, we commented on a monumental competition matter pending before a regional international authority until recently unknown to many antitrust practitioners: the Andean Community (CAN), comprised of four member states – Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru – and empowered with several regional functions, including the review of anti-competitive practices with a community dimension.
The matter involves an unprecedented leniency breach that threatens the future efficacy of leniency programs throughout Latin America. Kimberly Clark signed the first leniency agreements ever with the Colombian (SIC) and Peruvian (INDECOPI) competition authorities, leading to record-breaking fines by those authorities in what would be known as the “soft paper” cartels. Other companies also participated in leniency applications in these proceedings. Kimberly Clark was also accepted into the leniency program of the Ecuadorian competition authority (SCPM). However, after an 18-month SCPM investigation followed by the closing and re-opening of a second soft-paper cartel investigation, the SCPM sent the documents, information and witness statements provided by Kimberly Clark in its corporate confession to the CAN, disregarding confidentiality rules, and the sanctity of …