Short Reads

Germany did not err in extraditing an Italian citizen to the US for a competition law infringement

Germany did not err in extraditing an Italian citizen to the US for a

Germany did not err in extraditing an Italian citizen to the US for a competition law infringement

01.05.2018 NL law

On 10 April 2018, the European Court of Justice ruled that Germany did not breach EU law by extraditing an Italian citizen to the United States for a competition law infringement in a situation where Germany's constitutional law does not permit extradition of its own nationals. The case highlights that extradition to the US for competition law infringements can be a real possibility for EU citizens.

In 2010, an arrest warrant was issued against Romano Pisciotti, an Italian citizen, by the District Court for the Southern District of Florida for his alleged involvement in the Marine Hose cartel. In 2013, Mr Pisciotti was arrested by the German authorities when his flight from Nigeria to Italy made a stopover at Frankfurt am Main airport. In 2014, Germany extradited Mr Pisciotti to the US where he served a prison sentence of approximately two years. He was the first European ever extradited to the US on cartel charges.

In 2014, Mr Pisciotti brought an action before the Landgericht Berlin for a declaration that Germany was civilly liable for having granted his extradition. According to Mr Pisciotti, Germany had breached EU law because Germany's constitutional law would not have allowed the extradition to the US of a German citizen who was in Mr Pisciotti's exact situation.

The Court of Justice ruled that Germany's unequal treatment between its nationals and the nationals of other Member States amounted to a restriction of the EU freedom of movement. Such restriction can only be justified if it is based on objective considerations and in so far as those objectives cannot be attained by less restrictive measures. The Court held that the objective of preventing the risk of impunity for persons who have committed an offence is an objective which can theoretically justify a free movement restriction. The Court then considered if Germany could have adopted a less restrictive course of action by surrendering him to Italy rather than to the US. The facts showed, however, that although the Italian authorities were informed of the US request for extradition, they did not issue an European arrest warrant requesting Mr Pisciotti's surrender to Italy. Germany was therefore allowed to extradite Mr Pisciotti to the US.

While the judgment highlights the possibility of successful EU-US extradition requests, it also makes clear that a request for surrender pursuant to a European arrest warrant by the EU citizen’s Member State of nationality has priority over a request for extradition issued by the US. The practical consequences of this prioritization appear to be limited, however, as an European arrest warrant can only be issued if the issuing Member State has jurisdiction, pursuant to national law, to prosecute the person for the offences to which the US extradition request relates. That will not always be the case if the cartel was implemented in the US.

This article was published in the Competition Law Newsletter of May 2018. Other articles in this newsletter:

  1. European Court of Justice provides guidance on assessing discriminatory pricing
  2. European Commission imposes record fine on Altice for premature implementation of PT Portugal acquisition
  3. European Commission proposes draft Regulation on online platforms and search engines
  4. District Court of Amsterdam rules on requests for pre-procedural hearings
  5. Rotterdam District Court quashes cartel fines imposed by the ACM on cold storage operators

Team

Related news

01.08.2019 NL law
General court dismisses all five appeals in the optical disk drives cartel

Short Reads - The General Court recently upheld a Commission decision finding that suppliers of optical disk drives colluded in bids for sales to Dell and HP by engaging in a network of parallel bilateral contacts over a multi-year period. The General Court rejected applicants' arguments regarding the Commission's fining methodology, including that the Commission ought to have provided reasons for not departing from the general methodology set out in its 2006 Guidelines.

Read more

14.08.2019 BE law
Verklaring van openbaar nut is geen "project" in de zin van de MER-regelgeving

Articles - In een recent arrest bevestigt de Raad van State dat "verklaringen van openbaar nut", bedoeld in artikel 10 van de wet van 12 april 1965 betreffende het vervoer van gasachtige produkten en andere door middel van leidingen niet onder het begrip "project" uit de project-MER-regelgeving valt. Of hetzelfde geldt voor elk type gelijkaardige administratieve toelating, is daarmee evenwel nog niet gezegd. Niettemin geeft de Raad met zijn arrest een belangrijk signaal dat niet elke mogelijke toelating onder de project-MER-regelgeving valt.

Read more

01.08.2019 NL law
Brand owners beware: Commission tough on cross-border sales restrictions

Short Reads - The European Commission recently imposed a EUR 6.2 million fine on Hello Kitty owner Sanrio for preventing its licensees from selling licensed merchandising products across the entire EEA. Sanrio is the second licensor (after Nike) to be fined for imposing territorial sales restrictions on its non-exclusive licensees for licensed merchandise. A third investigation into allegedly similar practices by Universal Studios is ongoing. The case confirms the Commission's determination to tackle these practices, regardless of type or form.

Read more

08.08.2019 BE law
Regulating online platforms: piece of the puzzle

Articles - The new Regulation no. 2019/1150 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 June 2019 on promoting fairness and transparency for business users of online intermediation services, applicable as of 12 July 2020, is another piece of the puzzle regulating online platforms, this time focussing on the supply side of the platforms.

Read more

01.08.2019 NL law
Call of duty: Commission must state reasons when straying from its guidelines

Short Reads - The European Commission has lost a second battle concerning its EUR 15 million fine imposed upon interdealer broker ICAP, this time before the European Court of Justice. The Court upheld the previous judgment of the General Court on the basis of the Commission's failure to state reasons concerning its fining methodology of cartel facilitator ICAP. This may lead to more reasoned Commission decisions in the future - deterrence of cartel behaviour does not justify keeping the methodology for setting the fines as a 'black box'.

Read more

Our website uses functional cookies for the functioning of the website and analytic cookies that enable us to generate aggregated visitor data. We also use other cookies, such as third party tracking cookies - please indicate whether you agree to the use of these other cookies:

Privacy – en cookieverklaring