On 16 March 2017, the European Commission launched a new whistleblower tool that will make it easier for individuals to anonymously inform the Commission about cartels and other anti-competitive practices.
The encrypted whistleblower tool, provided by an external intermediary, is available on the Commission's website and allows for anonymous two-way communication between the individual and the Commission in any EU language. Individuals waiving anonymity can contact the Commission directly via a dedicated phone number and email address.
According to the Commission the new tool will complement and reinforce its existing leniency programme, which has been predominantly relied on to detect cartels. The leniency programme allows companies to report their own involvement in a cartel and to hand over evidence to the Commission in exchange for a reduction of the fine imposed on them.
By introducing the tool the Commission gives individual employees with knowledge of a cartel or other anti-competitive behaviour an opportunity to come forward. The Commission aims to increase the likelihood that the information received from individuals will be sufficiently precise and reliable to enable the Commission to start an investigation.
This article was published in the Competition Law Newsletter of April 2017. Other articles in this newsletter:
- Court of Justice confirms the fine imposed on Samsung in the cathode ray tubes cartel
- Court of Justice rules on the Hearing Officer's competence to resolve confidentiality requests
- General Court annuls European Commission's merger blocking decision in UPS/TNT for procedural errors
- European Commission proposes a new Directive to empower national competition authorities to be more effective enforcers of EU competition law rules
- District Court of Gelderland denies passing-on defense in antitrust litigation related to the GIS-cartel