Short Reads

Commission reduced EURIBOR cartel fine imposed on Société Générale by EUR 218 million

Commission reduced EURIBOR cartel fine imposed on Société Générale by EUR 218 million

Commission reduced EURIBOR cartel fine imposed on Société Générale by EUR 218 million

02.05.2016 NL law

On 6 April 2016, the European Commission announced that it had reduced the fine imposed on Société Générale for its participation in the Euro interest rate derivatives cartel from EUR 445.9 million to EUR 227.7 million. The fine, which was imposed by the Commission in 2013 using the cartel settlement procedure, was modified to reflect the corrected value of sales provided by Société Générale in February 2016.

In December 2013, the Commission imposed fines of EUR 1.71 billion on eight international banks for manipulation of interest rate derivatives denominated in Euros (EURIBOR) and Japanese Yen (JPY LIBOR). Société Générale received a fine of EUR 445.9 million for its involvement in the cartel related to EURIBOR. The Commission concluded the case under the EU settlement procedure.   

Undertakings can benefit from a 10% fine reduction and a less time-consuming procedure if they agree to settle with the Commission. Although settlement decisions can be appealed to the EU courts, the Commission expected this to be unlikely when introducing the settlement procedure. This is mainly because, after settlement discussions, parties must acknowledge their liability for the infringement as well as its main facts and legal assessment. Furthermore, a settlement submission must, among other things, contain an indication of the maximum amount of the fine the undertaking would accept and the party's confirmation that it has had sufficient opportunity to make its views known and it does not envisage requesting further access to the Commission's file.

When Société Générale appealed the EURIBOR settlement decision in 2014, it was the first settling party to appeal a decision to the General Court. Société Générale based its appeal on the grounds that the Commission had miscalculated the value of sales, which is the basis for the calculation of the fine. According to Société Générale, the sales values adopted by the Commission in the contested decision did not accurately reflect the position of the banks on the market during the infringement period. In February 2016, Société Générale provided the Commission with revised data to be used for a re-calculation of the fine.

When the Commission announced that it would reduce the fine on the basis of the corrected figures, Société Générale withdrew its appeal against the settlement decision. By using the same methodology used in its 2013 decision, the Commission reduced the fine on Société Générale by almost half of the original amount to EUR 227.7 million.

The case shows that providing accurate turnover data during an investigation is essential to ensure a correct level of the fine. In settlement procedures in particular, where parties are guided through the evidence and do not have access to all the documents supporting the case, there is a lack of insight into the methodology used for calculating the fines imposed on all of the parties concerned. This makes it even more important to ensure the turnover figures submitted are accurate and errors do not need to be corrected during lengthy appeal proceedings.

This article was published in the Competition Law Newsletter of May 2016. Other articles in this newsletter:

1. Commission publishes commitments offered by Paramount Pictures in pay-TV investigation
2. ACM clarifies that a party cannot object to the fine imposed on another addressee of the decision

Team

Related news

02.04.2020 NL law
ACM played high stakes and lost: no more fixed network access regulation

Short Reads - The ACM’s failure to meet the requisite standard of proof has led to the fixed networks of Dutch telecom providers KPN and VodafoneZiggo being free from access regulation. The Dutch Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal ruled that the ACM had failed to demonstrate the existence of collective dominance, and that KPN and VodafoneZiggo would tacitly coordinate their behaviour absent regulation.

Read more

26.03.2020 BE law
​I am suffering significant financial losses as a result of the spread of the corona virus. Is there a possibility of State aid?

Short Reads - COVID-19 brings certain questions to centre stage regarding State aid. In this short read, Peter Wytinck, Sophie Van Besien and Michèle de Clerck discuss the possibility of State aid in case of significant financial losses as a result of the spread of the corona virus.

Read more

02.04.2020 NL law
Claims assigned to a litigation vehicle: who needs to prove what?

Short Reads - Two recent decisions from the Amsterdam Court of Appeal have confirmed that litigation vehicles cannot come empty-handed to the court, and should provide documentation regarding the assignments of claims they submit. The Dutch legal system allows companies and individuals to assign their claims to a “litigation vehicle” or “claims vehicle” that bundles those claims into a single action. In its decisions of 10 March 2020, the Court of Appeal ruled that it is up to litigation vehicles to prove that the assignments can be invoked against the debtor. 

Read more

10.03.2020 NL law
De AVG staat niet in de weg aan de verwerking van persoonsgegevens door een toezichthouder tijdens een bedrijfsbezoek

Short Reads - Bedrijven die met toezicht worden geconfronteerd, zijn gehouden op verzoek van een toezichthouder in beginsel alle informatie te verstrekken. Met de komst van de Algemene verordening gegevensbescherming (AVG) is in de praktijk de vraag opgekomen of een toezichthouder bevoegd is om persoonsgegevens die onderdeel uitmaken van de gevraagde informatie te verwerken.

Read more

02.04.2020 NL law
EU competition policy agenda: full to the brim

Short Reads - The European Commission’s competition policy agenda stretches to 2024 and contains plans for many new or revised rules and guidelines. Recent publications, such as the New Industrial Strategy for Europe, shed more light on the Commission’s initiatives and their possible impact on parties from both inside and outside the European Union (EU). These new initiatives include temporary state aid rules to address the effects of the Corona crisis, consultations on the Block Exemption Regulations, and new measures in respect of (primarily) third-country companies.

Read more

05.03.2020 NL law
CBb confirms: no cartel fine, still interest to appeal cartel decision

Short Reads - Companies can challenge a decision establishing that they committed a competition law violation, even if no fine was imposed on them. The CBb – the highest court for public enforcement of cartel cases – recently confirmed that the absence of a fine does not affect a company’s interest to appeal. Consequently, parent companies held liable for a subsidiary’s cartel infringement can still challenge a cartel decision, irrespective of whether fines were imposed on them separately.

Read more

This website uses cookies. Some of these cookies are essential for the technical functioning of our website and you cannot disable these cookies if you want to read our website. We also use functional cookies to ensure the website functions properly and analytical cookies to personalise content and to analyse our traffic. You can either accept or refuse these functional and analytical cookies.

Privacy – en cookieverklaring