To Settle or Not To Settle After Timab

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Marc Abenhaim, Kristina Nordlander, Stephen Spinks, Sep 16, 2015

On May 20, 2015, the General Court of the European Union dismissed the appeal brought by Timab Industries  and its parent company Cie Financière et de Participations Roullier  against the European Commission’s decision fining them for their participation in the animal feed phosphates cartel. This cartel involved the allocation of sales quotas and customers, as well as the coordination of conditions of sale, among six European producers between 1969 and 2004.

The investigations were initially triggered by several leniency applications, including one filed by Timab and CFPR. Based on these leniency applications, the Commission opened infringement proceedings and invited cartel participants to engage in bilateral settlement discussions. Timab took part in these discussions and, in that context, was notified of the range of likely fines envisaged by the Commission. However, unlike the five other cartel participants,Timab ultimately decided not to take part in the settlement proposed by the Commission.

It is the first time that the General Court had to rule on such a hybrid cartel case, where both the standard enforcement procedure and the settlement procedure run in parallel. Under the standard procedure, the undertakings concerned receive a fully-fledged statement of objections  and enjoy their full rights of defense. The settlement …

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