LAW: Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr Speaks Out
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Charter says that the Commission is persisting in its recently formed view that an industry association, despite not being in a horizontal relationship with any of the respondents, can nevertheless be fined in its independent capacity.
"The referral is a clear indication that even so-called “coffee table discussions”, or “agreements in principle” where comfort is sought and obtained about competitor’s moves in general terms (without the hard-core intention to agree specific pricing issues) will be treated as hard-core cartel behaviour and prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
“One might bear in mind that the allegations rely in part on the leniency applicant’s characterisation of the relevant interactions, and it remains to be seen if the remaining respondent’s paint a different picture.”
Charter adds that also worth noting is the Commission’s willingness to entertain leniency applications even after it has gone so far in its investigation as to conduct a dawn raid.
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