Economic and Legal Implications for the EU Member States
Edited by Katalin J. Cseres, Maarten Pieter Schinkel and Floris O.W. Vogelaar
Chapter 14: Experience with Criminal Law Sanctions for Competition Law Infringements in Germany
14. Experience with criminal law sanctions for competition law infringements in Germany Christof Vollmer1 1 INTRODUCTION For decades competition and criminal lawyers in Germany have argued about the pros and cons of criminal sanctions in the enforcement of competition law. Even in 1986 the criminalization of some competition law infringements was regarded by the legislator as going too far and not in line with the overall regulation of competition law infringements in Germany.2 But a decade later the situation had changed: in 1997, following a comparatively brief legislative process of less than two years, a new provision was introduced into the Criminal Code (CC). In order to intensify the ﬁght against corruption, bid rigging became a criminal offence (Sec. 298 CC). Although all other competition law infringements – including all other hardcore restrictions such as price ﬁxing or market sharing – remained administrative offences, Sec. 298 CC was the ﬁrst – almost unnoticed – piece of legislation in the recent European drive against cartels.3 2 2.1 CRIMINAL AND ADMINISTRATIVE OFFENCES Differences between Criminal and Administrative Offences 2.1.1 Legal consequences The most important differences between criminal and administrative offences in German law are different legal consequences. The Administrative Offences Act (AOA) provides as the main legal consequence of administrative offences only for ﬁnes, whereas the Criminal Code allows also the imposition of imprisonment (Sec. 38 f.) and measures of reform and prevention including professional disqualiﬁcation orders (Sec. 61 ff.). Pursuant to the Criminal Code it is also possible to impose a ﬁne, but the...
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