Brazil: STJ Limita Extensão Do Sigilo De Dados Dos Acordos De Leniência Firmados Pelo CADE

Em meados de abril, foi publicado no Diário de Justiça Eletrônico do Superior Tribunal de Justiça ("STJ") o Acórdão referente ao Recurso Especial nº 1.554.9861, no qual a Terceira Turma limitou a extensão do sigilo de dados dos Acordos de Leniência firmados pelo Conselho Administrativo de Defesa Econômica ("CADE") até o momento da publicação do Parecer Técnico conclusivo elaborado pela Superintendência-Geral do CADE.

Em 2013, a Electrolux do Brasil S.A. ("Electrolux") ajuizou ação de reparação de danos em face da Whirlpool S.A. ("Whirlpool") e da Brasmotors S.A. ("Brasmotors")2, em decorrência dos prejuízos por ela sofridos advindos da compra de compressores a preços supostamente aumentados em razão da participação das rés em acordo de cartel3. Em sede de Recurso Especial, Whirlpool e Brasmotors pleitearam pela impossibilidade de juntada aos autos da ação do Acordo de Leniência, firmado por uma terceira empresa4, e dos documentos que justificaram a instauração da investigação de cartel.

Segundo o Ministro Marco Aurélio Bellizze, Relator do Recurso Especial no STJ, o sigilo inicial dos Acordos de Leniência tem papel crucial para a utilização do instrumento, tanto no que toca ao incentivo à colaboração por coautores dos cartéis eventualmente formados quanto para o próprio sucesso das investigações levadas a efeito a partir do acordo.

No entanto, uma vez aceito e formalizado o acordo de leniência, a extensão do sigilo somente se justificará no interesse das apurações ou em relação a documentos específicos cujo segredo deverá ser guardado também em tutela da concorrência. Nesse sentido, ainda que estendido o sigilo, não se pode admitir seu prolongamento indefinido no tempo, perdendo sentido sua manutenção após esgotada a fase de apuração da conduta. Esse momento, segundo o Relator do caso, ocorreria quando da apresentação do Parecer Técnico conclusivo proferido pela Superintendência-Geral do CADE ao Tribunal Administrativo da referida autarquia - órgão responsável pelo julgamento dos Processos Administrativos.

Assim, a limitação do sigilo das informações constantes nos Acordos de Leniência, segundo o Relator, teria como objetivo evitar que se garanta ao signatário do acordo de leniência favor não assegurado pela lei, uma vez que os benefícios para aquele que adere ao programa de leniência são restritos às esferas administrativa e penal, sem nenhuma menção legal à pretensão cível de eventuais lesados pelas infrações concorrenciais. A abertura das informações visaria também garantir que não se perpetuem os danos causado a terceiros, sendo a limitação indefinida do livre acesso público ao conteúdo do acordo e seus anexos medida desproporcional que impediria terceiros eventualmente prejudicados pela conduta investigada de buscar a devida reparação dos danos suportados.

Não obstante o entendimento acima, é importante lembrar que a necessidade de limitação do acesso a parte dos documentos (como aqueles que as recorrentes alegam guardarem segredos industriais) não se confunde com os documentos que evidenciam a prática de cartel sem qualquer teor confidencial. Essa avaliação, segundo o acórdão em comento, deverá ser pontualmente feita pelo Juízo responsável pela análise do processo de reparação de danos.

Vale notar que esse entendimento pode limitar o disposto no artigo 207 do Regimento Interno do CADE, o qual prevê que a identidade do signatário do acordo de leniência será mantida como de acesso restrito em relação ao público em geral até o julgamento do processo pelo Tribunal Administrativo do CADE.

Footnotes

1 O inteiro teor do Acórdão está disponível em https://ww2.stj.jus.br/processo/revista/documento/mediado/?componente=ITA&sequencial=1494823&num_registro=201502191117&data=20160405&formato=PDF

2 A Ação de Reparação de Danos tramita perante o Tribunal de Justiça do Estado de São Paulo e foi autuada sob o nº 2034855-20.2013.8.26.0000 .

3 O Processo Administrativo referente ao Cartel dos Compressores foi autuado perante o CADE sob o nº 08012.000820/2009-11.

4 O Acordo de Leniência referente ao Cartel dos Compressores foi celebrado entre o Grupo Tecumseh (Tecumseh do Brasil Ltda., Tecumseh Products Company, Tecumseh Products Company of Canada Ltd., Tecumseh Europe S.A., Tecumseh Products India Private Ltd., Sr. Dagoberto Sanchez Darezzo, Sr. José Celso Lunardelli Furchi, Sr. Januário Domingos Soligon e Sr. Michel Jorge Geraissate Filhof), o CADE e o Ministério Público Federal.

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