In order to benefit from immunity from, or a reduction of, fines a business must meet the following conditions, each of which will apply throughout the leniency application process and until a final infringement decision is adopted.
First type of immunity
The Competition Authority will grant an undertaking immunity from any fine which would otherwise have been imposed if:
- The undertaking is the first to notify the Competition Authority of an anti-competitive cooperation, and
- The notification submitted by the undertaking contains information which will enable the Competition Authority to carry out a targeted inspection.
To be granted immunity the undertaking must also satisfy the following cumulative cooperation conditions:
- It provides all information it has concerning the infringement (i.e. the illegal anti-competitive cooperation),
- It co-operates fully with the Competition Authority throughout the investigation,
- It does not destroy evidence or hinder the Competition Authority’s investigation, and
- It ends its involvement in the illegal cooperation.
Immunity from fines will not be granted, however, if the undertaking has coerced another undertaking to participate in the illegal anti-competitive cooperation.
Second and third type of immunity
In cases where the Competition Authority already has enough evidence to carry out a targeted inspection and no undertaking has met the conditions of the first type of leniency, the Competition Authority will grant an undertaking immunity of any fine which would otherwise have been imposed if:
- The undertaking is the first to submit evidence, which in the Competition Authority’s view, enables the finding of an infringement (i.e. an illegal anti-competitive cooperation), or
- The undertaking provides highly significant assistance to the investigation of the infringement.
To be granted immunity the undertaking must satisfy the cooperation conditions described under the first type of immunity. However immunity will not be granted if the undertaking has coerced another undertaking to participate in the illegal anti-competitive cooperation.
Reduction of fines
Undertakings that do not qualify for immunity may benefit from a reduction of any fine that would otherwise have been imposed. In order to qualify for a reduction of fines, the undertaking must provide the Competition Authority with evidence of the alleged illegal anti-competitive cooperation which represents significant added value relative to the evidence already in the Competition Authority’s possession at the time of the application.
When assessing the appropriate level of reduction of fines, the Competition Authority will consider whether any other undertaking has already provided the Competition Authority with evidence, which in the Authority’s view represents significant added value to the investigation.
To qualify for a reduction of fines the undertaking must meet the same cooperation conditions as for immunity.