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Slaughter and May has scooped the lead advisory role for British Airways (BA), which was raided last week by officials from the European Commission over suspicions of price-fixing in its cargo business.
The UK company was one of at least 10 airlines that were subject to dawn raids by the Commission, which is investigating cartel activity among a number of European cargo carriers.
BA head of legal Maria da Cunha confirmed that Slaughters had been appointed to act on UK competition issues for the airline, with Sullivan & Cromwell set to represent BA on US matters.
Bertrand Louveaux is leading the Slaughters competition team, but he was unavailable for comment at the time of going to press.
Air France, Lufthansa, KLM, SAS and cargo specialist Cargolux have also confirmed that they have been visited by Commission officials, but it is understood that none had appointed legal advisers by the time The Lawyer went to press.
The global cartel investigation into airlines marks a growing trend for regulators to coordinate their initial evaluations prior to carrying out their inquiries.
Sidley Austin Brown & Wood competition partner Stephen Kinsella told The Lawyer that representatives from many of the regulators were involved in a conference in London at the beginning of February to deal specifically with coordinated industry-wide cartel investigations.
"More and more regulators around the world are consulting with each other before launching investigations so that they don't impede another investigation by another authority," said Kinsella.
Allen & Overy is understood to be advising KLM Air France on the issue.