Jurisdiction - Australia
Global Antitrust Fines Figures Up Despite Fewer Investigations.

8 January, 2014


International law firm Allen & Overy reports that, across seven major jurisdictions selected for its Global Cartel Enforcement 2013 Year in Review, cartel fines handed down in 2013 totalled EUR3.1bn (USD4.2bn). A&O found that fewer new global investigations have emerged this year, however fine levels in the seven selected countries have increased by 10.5% in 2013 compared to the previous year. This is due to substantial settlements imposed against the LIBOR and auto parts cartels. China is now amongst the countries imposing the highest fines.


The report foreshadows another significant year for cartel enforcement in 2014, with the financial services sector commanding the spotlight once again.  It also predicts mounting challenges for authorities and multinational corporations as they seek to coordinate and fairly resolve matters in the increasingly crowded global cartel enforcement environment. 


Commenting on the outcome of the research, antitrust partner John Terzaken said: “Matters such as auto parts and LIBOR highlight the problems posed by the regulatory enforcement thicket that now exists in complex global matters. Multiple agencies in different countries are more frequently pursuing and punishing the same basic conduct, but under different laws. Moving forward, authorities need to find a way to coordinate global enforcement matters, to ensure appropriate deterrence without tipping the balance towards over-punishment. Multinational corporations in turn need to maintain a global perspective on cartel liability.”


Commenting on the surge of fines in China, François Renard, head of A&O China antitrust practice, adds: “Emerging countries, especially in Asia, are sending increasingly stronger signals to companies that they will not hesitate to impose substantial antitrust fines on companies, whether they are domestic or foreign multinational companies.” He added: “This year, China handed out cartel fines of USD61m, which includes fines for the first ever international cartel handled by the Chinese authorities – the LCD case.  The total amount of fines for 2013 would rise to USD241.6m when including fines for resale price maintenance.”


Jurisdiction 2012 Fines in USDm (EURm)* 2013 Fines in USDm (EURm)*
EU USD2274 (EUR1739) USD2500 (EUR1900)
US** USD1140 (EUR856) USD1020 (EUR756)
Japan USD235 (EUR180) USD218.3 (EUR163)
Brazil USD69 (EUR53) USD213 (EUR161)
South Africa USD58 (EUR44) USD148.6 (EUR113.2)
Australia USD49 (EUR37) USD3.2 (EUR2.4)
Canada USD22 (EUR17) USD44 (EUR33.4)
TOTAL USD3800 (EUR2900) USD4200 (EUR3100)


*Statistics from selected jurisdictions provided in this table are approximate and reflect fine levels and exchange rates at the time of writing and may not be exhaustive.

**US statistics cover the US fiscal year, which runs from October 1 to September 30.  All other countries’ statistics cover the calendar year.


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