On 25 March 2015, the Competition College (Mededingingscollege / Collège de la concurrence) of the Belgian Competition Authority (Belgische Mededingingsautoriteit / Autorité belge de la concurrence) ("BCA") dismissed Spira's appeal against the rejection of its complaint against De Beers' distribution system.

This decision appears to mark the end of a long judicial saga involving Spira BVBA ("Spira"), a Belgian dealer of rough diamonds, and De Beers, the world's leading producer of rough diamonds. Spira contested, both before the European Commission and before the BCA, the decision of De Beers to reorganise its distribution network through the introduction of the Supplier of Choice ("SOC") system (See, VBB on Belgian Business Law, Volume 2010, No. 5, p. 2; Volume 2011, No. 1, p. 4; Volume 2012, No. 4, p. 2; Volume 2012, No. 5, p. 2; Volume 2012, No. 8, p. 3, available at www.vbb.com). Under the SOC system, Spira was no longer allowed to purchase rough diamonds from De Beers, which Spira considered to infringe Articles 101 and 102 TFEU and the corresponding provisions of Belgian competition law (current Articles IV.1 and IV.2 of the Code of Economic Law (Wetboek van Economisch Recht / Code de droit économique)).

However, Spira's complaint before the European Commission was dismissed. In addition, Spira's action before the General Court against this dismissal failed as well (See, VBB on Competition Law, Volume 2013, No. 8, p. 6, available at www.vbb.com). Following this judgment, the College of Competition Prosecutors of the BCA reassessed the case and decided, on 15 October 2014, to dismiss Spira's complaint. The College of Competition Prosecutors noted that the European Commission had considered the chances of finding an infringement of competition law to be too low to trigger an investigation and found that the same reasoning should a fortiori apply to the BCA, whose resources are more limited than those of the Commission (See, VBB on Belgian Business Law, Volume 2014, No. 11, p. 4, available at www.vbb.com).

Spira appealed this decision before the Competition College, which noted that Spira's complaint before the BCA was based on arguments identical or similar to those raised before the European Commission. The Competition College found that, in the context of the modernised European competition law, it is not only appropriate but even necessary for the College of Competition Prosecutors to give consideration to the assessment made by the European Commission of the likelihood of finding a competition law infringement. Therefore, the Competition College confirmed the College of Competition Prosecutors' decision to dismiss Spira's complaint.

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