Answer ... No two cartel investigations are the same. Each case requires the development and implementation of a tailored strategy, given the particulars of the investigation, the options available to the undertaking and the potential risks.
The target undertaking should determine whether the Romanian Competition Council has carried out investigations in neighbouring markets or a sectoral market investigation, and clarify the scope of such investigations and the answers prepared by the undertaking following the council’s request for information.
It should also assess whether there may be spill-over issues in other markets in which it has a presence. A swift response may place it in pole position for a Type B leniency application, or for a Type A leniency application in spill-over markets. While private damages are clearly not a routine threat in Romania, the risk may still be need to be considered when deciding on the strategy. Although the Competition Law provisions on the criminal liability of managers have seldom been put to the test, it is advisable to verify managers’ potential exposure to criminal liability, as they may need their own counsel.
The target undertaking may also need to change its business practices and ensure strict compliance by ceasing the questionable conduct, as this may influence the size of the fine. Its document retention policy should be suspended to ensure that no evidence relevant to the investigation is accidentally destroyed.
The undertaking should also assess the impact of the investigation on its relations with joint venture or trade partners, lenders, customers and suppliers, and assess its activities in trade associations.