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In 2014, Mexico adopted legislation to criminalize cartel activity as well as any conduct undertaken to obstruct cartel investigations conducted by Mexico’s federal competition commission (“COFECE”). J, new legislation in Mexico also increased COFECE’s investigative powers and provided it with the ability to impose new individual administrative sanctions.

COFECE also joined other jurisdictions, notably including the United States, the Europe Union, Brazil, Chile, and Canada, in sanctioning manufacturers of refrigeration compressors for allegedly participating in an international price-fixing conspiracy affecting the Mexican market.

The United States has long posed a special risk for corporations and for individuals suspected of engaging in cartel activity because of the potential for individuals to be sentenced to prison. First, in April, Romano Pisciotti, an Italian businessman, became the first person to be extradited for an antitrust offense, anywhere in the world. authorities used a sealed indictment to place Pisciotti on an INTERPOL Red Notice, which led to his detainment in German customs.

In addition, they face a regime that imposes structural remedies in addition to very high fines, and that has the ability to sanction conduct that ended well over a decade ago. D, in May 2014, CADE’s tribunal imposed what are arguably the harshest sanctions ever levied by any enforcer in a cartel case.The risk of catastrophic sanctions has resulted in an increase in the percentage of companies that entered into voluntary settlement agreements with the Commission this year.However, a significant percentage of companies continue to challenge Commission fines before the Court of Justice of the European Union, where the Commission has a mixed record of success. Notwithstanding the Commission’s eye-grabbing fines, the most significant development in Europe over the last year involves the continued rise in private damages litigation in Member States—an initiative championed by the Commission and supported by the European Parliament—discussed below in Section II. Companies facing the prospect of a massive Commission fine are now at greater risk of facing follow-on private damages actions pursued by the alleged victims in European national courts. B below, the Update reports on developments on this front in a number of Member States, including the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany, France, and Belgium.Similar levels of cooperation are reported to be taking place in the capacitors investigation, with the notable development that China’s National Development and Reform Commission has reportedly joined the group of cooperating international authorities.The record fines included 5 million fine imposed on Bridgestone for fixing prices on anti-vibration rubber products. A.1.a, the fine imposed on Bridgestone was particularly notable because it was increased by over 0 million based on the Antitrust Division’s application of its “Penalty Plus” policy.

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