Volume 29 (2006) / Issue 4
Aitor Montesa, Angel Givaja, 'When Parents Pay for their Children’s Wrongs: Attribution of Liability for EC Antitrust Infringements in Parent-Subsidiary Scenarios' (2006) 29 World Competition, Issue 4, pp. 555–574
A correct attribution of liability for EC antitrust infringements is an essential part of the European Commission’s enforcement policy. This issue has become increasingly critical for companies involved in cartels and other antitrust violations. In particular, the potential consequences of the parent company being found liable for infringements by its subsidiary might represent a difference of several millions of euros in the final fine that the Commission might impose in its decision penalizing the antitrust infringements. This article provides a succinct legal analysis of the elements taken into account by the Commission when deciding whether to attribute liability to parent companies for infringements by their subsidiaries, as well as the stance taken on this matter by the Court of First Instance and the European Court of Justice. Despite this body of case law, there are still a number of issues that have been left unresolved, and the kind of (negative) evidence that a parent company must adduce in order to be relieved from the unlawful conduct of its subsidiary is far from clear. This article has been shortlisted for the 1st World Competition Young Writer Award.
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