23 June 2016 - Post by:John Terzaken
Global cartel fines are significantly behind where they were this time last year, despite a strong performance by enforcers in Asia Pacific.
Fines imposed for the first half of 2016 total just USD1.1 billion as compared to the USD3.17bn in fines imposed last year at the half-year mark. The slumping mid-year statistics are attributable to a slow start to the year by competition authorities in the United States and the European Union. Asia Pacific authorities, and particularly Korea’s Fair Trade Commission, account for more than half of the mid-year fine total.
To access a copy of Allen & Overy’s global cartel enforcement mid-year report for 2016, please click here.
Developing trends in global cartel enforcement
- Declining fines in the U.S. The U.S. appears unlikely to breach the USD1bn fine mark it has hit for the last several years. This decline appears related to a temporal shift in the Division’s core investigations. Many of the Division’s most significant cases have progressed beyond corporate prosecutions and are now targeting individual executives.
- Rebounding fines in the European Union. Last year, the European Commission had one of its lowest cartel fine totals in 11 years. This year, we expect the Commission’s fine figures to rebound substantially, potentially to record-breaking levels on the back of resolutions in the auto and financial services markets.
- More from APAC. We expect standout enforcers like the Korea Fair Trade Commission (KFTC) and Japan Fair Trade Commission (JFTC) to continue apace to assess significant fine totals for the year.
- Individual accountability. Prosecuting culpable individuals remains a priority across regimes. We expect to see additional indictments in the U.S. in the financial services markets, as well as severe sanctions to be realised against numerous individuals due to be sentenced in 2016.