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parliment flags

Washing powder, power cables, car and truck bearings, polyurethane foam, and North Sea shrimps. What do these have in common? All have had to pay millions of Euros in settlement to the European Commission due to infringements of competition law. Canned mushrooms is but the latest product in the food sector to fall to the growing scrutiny of the Commission. A Commission investigation revealed that four producers had become involved in a strategy of mutual benefit, a so called ‘non-aggression pact’, –Read More–

With corporate transparency high on the international agenda, global Anti-Money Laundering (“AML”)  standards have been strengthened by the Financial Action Task Force (“FATF”) and the United Nations  Convention against Corruption. Despite this, people continue to be able to launder and hide proceeds of  crime and corruption around the world. Illegitimate proceeds are often concealed using shell or holding companies, foundations and trusts. European Union (“EU”) financial centres continue to attract dirty money, posing risk to the stability, integrity and reputation –Read More–

On 25 June 2014, the EU Commission published two policy papers. The first was an update to the De Minimis Notice governing when minor agreements are not caught by the general prohibitions against anti-competitive behaviour. Although an update, the thresholds remain the same so that there is a safe harbour for agreements between companies whose market shares do not exceed 10% or do not exceed 15% when the agreement is between non-competitors. However, this safe harbour does not mean companies –Read More–

The new UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) recently issued Provisional Findings in its Payday Lending Market Investigation, concluding that payday loan customers in the UK appear to be paying too much for their loans as a result of a lack of price competition. The CMA will be suggesting measures to increase competition and transparency, which will work alongside changes being made by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) aimed at strengthening consumer protection for such borrowers, many of whom can –Read More–

On June 19 2014, Ofcom made two announcement that will shape the competitive landscape in superfast broadband. In the first announcement, Ofcom have provisionally dismissed a complaint by TalkTalk against BT, first made in March 2013. BT provide the hardware for access to superfast broadband, both to itself and to rival operators such as TalkTalk. TalkTalk alleged that BT were guilty of abusing their dominant position under Article 102 TFEU by failing to maintain a sufficient margin between their upstream –Read More–

On the 12 June 2014, the UK Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) issued its provisional report and recommendations to combat competition concerns in the private motor insurance industry. The report and proposals follow initial examination of the industry by the CMA’s predecessor, the Competition Commission. The provisional report will send shockwaves through the insurance industry, perhaps most of all to price comparison sites whose method for receiving low prices looks under threat. The CMA’s aim and that of the proposed –Read More–

The European Commission has published its recommendation to the UK Supreme Court on the interpretation of infringement decisions and the effect on time limits for bringing follow-on damages claims. The Commission’s guidance and the Supreme Court’s ruling are significant in clarifying that claimants need to begin proceedings as soon as possible after those cartelists’ time for bringing an appeal has been exhausted, even if other cartelists’ appeals are still ongoing. The Commission has the power to make such recommendations under –Read More–

On 5 June 2014, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled on a cartel case referred by an Austrian Court, concerning a lift and escalator cartel and is crucial in clarifying the EU’s position on the controversial subject of umbrella pricing. The ECJ ruled that customers of non-cartel members were able to claim for damages caused by market price inflation, provided a causal link could be proved between the cartel’s actions and a third-party price increase. The case stems from –Read More–