Edited by Ariel Ezrachi
Chapter 12: Cartels, extradition and concurrent criminal prosecution
In a time when national and household budgets alike are being squeezed, the negative impacts of cartels, primarily in the setting of artificially high prices, are progressively exercising more and more individuals and governments into action. In recent years, the rate of prosecution of cartel offences has increased exponentially. In 2010, having improved its investigative and prosecutorial procedures in recent years, the European Commission raised over €3 billion in cartel fines and in doing so tackled some of the largest global companies. This action at the EU level forms part of a worldwide trend in cartel prosecution, which will only continue to increase as procedures are further refined and the avenues for international cooperative investigations are made more efficient. In the UK, the Office of Fair Trading (‘OFT’) has also seen a steady increase in the fines it issued to companies. In April 2010, the OFT announced fines to a total of £225 million, which was the largest series of fines imposed to date. However, the Enterprise Act 2002 (‘Enterprise Act’) has been criticised for setting the bar too high for prosecutors when it comes to investigation and prosecution of criminal cartel offences. Impetus for this view was provided by the collapse in May 2010 of the first contested criminal case in the UK, largely as a result of difficulties faced at the investigative stage.
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