Aggressive cartel enforcement ‘continues unabated for the first six months of 2014’

Research published by Allen & Overy has revealed that aggressive cartel enforcement has continued unabated for the first six months of 2014, with fines expected to reach record levels by the end of the year.

Already, the US Antitrust Division has imposed fines of $709m (£420m), over three times the mid-year figure for 2013. The European Commission is also within reach of last year’s total (€1.9bn or £1.5bn), with fines of approximately €1.41bn.

John Terzaken, partner and head of the cartels defence practice at Allen & Overy, said: ‘Global cartel enforcement has not lost a step so far in 2014, with cartel fines on track to soar to record levels and more regimes having joined the growing band of cartel enforcers willing to reach beyond their borders to prosecute corporations and executives for international conduct. At the same time, regional enforcers are turning their attention to more local cartels.

‘Developments this year also highlight the growing prominence of enforcers in key economic regions, such as the Asia-Pacific, which is raising the stakes for multinationals operating in the region. It is also causing authorities to reflect on the appropriate role of traditional global cartel enforcement powerhouses, such as the US and the EU, in pursuing and punishing conduct arising in regions such as the Asia-Pacific.’

Terzaken added that, on the whole, the message for companies — whether they operate regionally or globally — continues to be the importance of enhancing and emphasising antitrust compliance and risk mitigation measures. He said: ‘Early detection of potential antitrust violations remains critically important to mitigating risks and provides a company with significant strategic advantages in deciding how to best resolve these issues.’