On the 19 March 2019, the European Commission (the 'Commission') took its leniency proceedings online by launching "eLeniency". 1 With this new tool, companies can submit any documents relevant to leniency proceedings, as well as non-cartel cooperation cases, online.
Leniency in the case of cartel proceedings is defined as the "granting of immunity from penalties or the reduction of penalties for antitrust violations in exchange for cooperation with the antitrust enforcement authorities". 2 It is a process by which the Commission encourages a company which is aware of cartel behaviour on the market to come forward and share the information it holds, i.e. whistle-blowing. In turn, the European Commission would award the first company to come forward with any new information on such anti-competitive cartel behaviour with leniency. It should be noted that while immunity is granted only to the first company that comes forward with information, any other company that provides any new, relevant information after that first company may benefit from a reduction in the fine that will be imposed by the Commission.
Before the launch of "eLeniency", companies or their representatives had to submit their oral statements at the Commission's premises. With this new tool, companies involved in leniency or non-cartel cooperation cases can file their statements and submissions online. This new system promises the same confidentiality and legal protection that was granted under the former procedure.
eLeniency is available 24/7 at https://eleniency.ec.europa.eu.
2 Wouter P.J. Wils, Leniency in Antitrust Enforcement: Theory and Practice (2006)
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