China: 反垄断违法行为中的高管个人责任:中外比较法的实践视角

1. 引言

近年来,我国反垄断执法工作更加常态化、精细化,执法力度不断加强,经营者的违法行为得到有效查处,进一步提升了反垄断执法工作的广度和深度 1,国内外各大主流媒体均对我国执法工作进行了及时广泛的报导。实践中,我们经常接到有关高管个人在经营者反垄断违法行为中可能承担的责任的相关咨询,而出于对中国法律体系了解的不够全面,有一些国外公司也发生过对于中国反垄断法项下个人需要承担刑事责任的误解。

基于中国法律体系,从事垄断行为并不构成刑事犯罪行为,企业高管也无须承担刑事责任,且无人身安全之虞;当然,在反垄断执法机关调查过程中阻碍调查程序构成刑法罪名的不在其限。基于中国的刑法典立法模式,《反垄断法》本身亦缺乏创设单独刑事责任的权限。在此,我们对有关刑事责任不再赘述,而是集中于经营者构成垄断行为的前提下,企业高管可能需要承担的民事责任及行政责任,特别是高管的任职资格问题。

2. "高管个人责任"和"高管"的定义和外延

为免生歧义,有必要首先对本文提及的"高管个人责任"进行界定。"高管个人责任"仅指经营者实施违反《反垄断法》所禁止的行为时,是否可在追究经营者责任的同时,对其高级管理人员追究刑事、行政或民事方面的责任[2]。

虽然《反垄断法》关于经营者的定义并限于公司组织形式的经营者,但是已被查处的各类核心卡特尔涉案的经营者几乎全是大型集团公司,所以本文提及的高管在绝大多数情况下即我国《公司法》中定义的高级管理人员,包括公司的经理、副经理、财务负责人、上市公司董事会秘书和公司章程规定的其他人员 3

3. 全球主要司法辖区对于个人责任的规定

在分析我国法律在经营者违反《反垄断法》时是否可同时追究公司高管个人责任之前,先简要回顾主要司法辖区的反垄断法责任体系。法律责任体系是各主要司法辖区反托拉斯法和竞争法的必要组成部分,各司法辖区均针对经营者设置了法律责任。虽然具体责任的性质和表现形式有所区别,但是针对同一类主体,这属于责任体系中的共性元素,本文不展开分析。以下仅就高管个人责任方面进行简要归纳。

3.1 美国

任何员工、董事或雇员如违反《谢尔曼法》第1条或第2条,可被罚款高达100万美元和/或判处最高长达10年监禁。美国的反托拉斯法律责任体系包括针对个人的刑事 4和罚金法则,且适用主体更广泛。值得关注的是美国近年来呈现出加强对个人层面的(企业员工、董事和雇员)执法趋势。

3.2 欧盟及其成员国

欧盟竞争法执法体系由欧盟和成员国两个层面构成。在欧盟法律层面,欧委会仅有权对经营者进行罚款。欧委会无权对经营者高管作出罚款或刑事制裁。在欧盟成员国层面,已有19个成员国对个人违反竞争法的责任作出规定 5,14个成员国已构建了刑事处罚体系和平行存在的行政罚款体系。

在英国,实施违反竞争法行为的个人责任包括五年以下的有期徒刑刑期和任何数额的罚款。此外,竞争与市场监管局 6可向法院申请取消董事资格命令 7。这种命令本质上属于民事救济措施,旨在限制其担任董事的资格,期限最长可达15年。

3.3 澳大利亚

澳大利亚法律规定,如违反竞争和消费者保护法(2010年),个人责任可能包括罚金(刑事)、罚款(民事)、最长10年监禁和取消董事资格等 8

3.4 香港

与同为普通法法系的英国和澳大利亚相比,香港《竞争条例》并未规定个人刑事责任,但是规定了与英国和澳大利亚类似的取消董事资格制度。

4. 我国对于高管个人责任的规定

4.1 刑事责任和行政责任

我国《反垄断法》并未对高管个人的刑事责任和行政责任作出规定,但是高管在实施违法行为或被查处时如果同时触犯刑法或行政法规的规定,将被追究相应责任。但这种刑事责任已不属于《反垄断法》所创设的范畴,而是依然局限于我国刑法典的体系之内。

4.2 任职资格限制

我国《反垄断法》并未规定任职资格限制。《公司法》第146条规定了5种不得担任公司的董事、监事、高级管理人员的情形 9。从可能适用情形来看,如经营者财务状况不佳而同时被查处违法行为并处以罚款,可能导致其破产清算,在此情况下,高管可能被认定为对该公司、企业的破产负有个人责任,在三年内不得担任公司的董事、监事、高级管理人员。其他四种情形均很难与反垄断违法行为关联起来,这也意味着无法依据该四种情形对高管作出任职限制。

4.3 民事责任

经营者是否可在承担责任后向其高管进行追偿,主要分两种情况:如高管行为属于职务行为,普遍认为经营者无法向高管追偿;如高管违反其对公司的忠实和勤勉义务 10,公司可考虑据此向高管追偿损失,但是实践中尚未出现案例。

5. 结论

与美国为代表的刑事责任制度或是以英国为代表的董事任职资格限制相比,我国《反垄断法》的责任体系主要针对经营者本身,缺乏对竞争者的高管追究个人责任的明确规定。但是,这并不意味着企业高管在有关垄断行为中可以置身事外。首先,对垄断行为负有直接责任的高管可能因为违反其对公司的忠实和勤勉义务需要承担民事责任,在将来的反垄断民事诉讼中不排除出现相关案例的可能性。其次,在我国完善有关《公司法》任职资格制度之后,比照英国、澳大利亚和香港地区的做法,也有可能被剥夺担任企业高管的资格。

注释:

[1] 2015年,我国产生了首例行政垄断的司法判决,该案是反垄断法实施6年多来,首次进入实质诉讼程序的案件;2015年,国家发改委对高通公司开出史上最大额反垄断罚单(人民币60.88亿元),是2014年全年17亿元人民币反垄断罚款总额的三倍还要多。2015年底,国家发改委对日本邮船株式会社、川崎汽船株式会社、株式会社商船三井等8家滚装货物国际海运企业达成并实施串通投标价格垄断协议的行为依法开出人民币4.07亿元的天价罚单,保障了进出口市场的竞争秩序。就总数来看,2015年国家发改委和省级价格主管部门共查处经营者垄断案件10起,罚款总额合计66.05亿元,远高于2014年的18亿元。

[2] 根据我国法律,如经营者实施垄断行为时,其高级管理人员的行为同时触犯其他法律所禁止的行为(例如为达成分割销售市场或客户的目的串通招投标),或在执法机关查处垄断行为时故意阻碍调查进行,执法机关当然有权根据《刑法》或其他法律规定对其进行追究。这种情形不在本文讨论范围之内。

[3]《公司法》第216条。

[4] 违反《谢尔曼法》所禁止的行为属于重罪性质。

[5] 在德国,个人可能面临€1,000,000的处罚。荷兰的执法机构针对个人的罚款最高可到€450,000。法国罚款金额总计最高可到€75,000,以及当个人在卡特尔行为的决策、组织和实施阶段中有欺诈性行为时,可能会判处最高四年的监禁。在爱尔兰,参与卡特尔行为的个人可能会面临罚款和最高长达十年期的监禁。更详细介绍请见

http://kluwercompetitionlawblog.com/2013/04/25/individual-liability-for-cartel-infringements-in-the-eu-an-increasingly-dangerous-minefield/

[6] Competition and Markets Authority

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/competition-and-markets-authority

[7] s.9A, the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986. 关于取消董事资格命令的更多介绍请见http://uk.practicallaw.com/5-107-4530

[8]https://www.accc.gov.au/business/business-rights-protections/fines-penalties

[9] 第一百四十六条

有下列情形之一的,不得担任公司的董事、监事、高级管理人员:

(一)无民事行为能力或者限制民事行为能力;

(二)因贪污、贿赂、侵占财产、挪用财产或者破坏社会主义市场经济秩序,被判处刑罚,执行期满未逾五年,或者因犯罪被剥夺政治权利,执行期满未逾五年;

(三)担任破产清算的公司、企业的董事或者厂长、经理,对该公司、企业的破产负有个人责任的,自该公司、企业破产清算完结之日起未逾三年;

(四)担任因违法被吊销营业执照、责令关闭的公司、企业的法定代表人,并负有个人责任的,自该公司、企业被吊销营业执照之日起未逾三年;

(五)个人所负数额较大的债务到期未清偿。

[10]《公司法》第147条。

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