Cartels, Competition and Price Fixing

"Eve Giles can call on experience spanning several areas of financial crime, including regulatory and cartel work. She had a lead role advising a company director involved in the supply of products to the construction sector, concerning a continuing CMA investigation."

Chambers and Partners 2017

We regularly work alongside expert competition lawyers, providing specialist criminal advice in respect of competition and criminal cartel investigations. Our cartel team is recognised  in all the directories  as leaders in our field. 

Understanding what is at stake

Individuals who may have committed the cartel offence are vulnerable to a criminal investigation by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) or the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).  The penalty under the cartel offence is up to five years in prison.

Our cartels team is extremely well placed to provide advice to individuals and companies who are caught up in cartel activity, whether through uncovering the activities internally, or as a result of an investigation by the CMA, European Commission (EC), SFO, Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), or overseas authorities such as the Department of Justice (DoJ).    

Following the changes to the law brought about in April 2014 by the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 (‘ERRA’) and the removal of the requirement for the CMA to prove dishonesty, we are aware that it can sometimes be difficult to assess whether or not conduct may fall within the criminal law and that the new exceptions and defences to the law can be confusing.  We provide regular training to companies and competition lawyers on the criminal cartel offence.

Providing specialist advice

If you are concerned about cartel activity, if your company is dawn-raided or individuals contacted by the CMA, then it is crucial that you get specialist advice to assess whether or not the conduct is potentially criminal. If it is, then immunity from criminal prosecution may be available to the individuals within the firm who first alert the CMA to the illegal activity. 

Any delay in assessing this risk can cost the company dearly both financially and reputationally and can mean that individuals may be criminally prosecuted, instead of being granted immunity.  

We are highly skilled at acting in lengthy investigations and trials, and in dealing with complex issues. We regularly advise on interviews under caution, compelled interviews, searches, dawn raids, internal investigations, leniency applications, immunity applications and the trial process.  

Supporting you through difficult times

A dawn raid (which is most likely to be conducted by the CMA and / or the European Commission) is a terrifying experience.  Members of staff may be arrested at the same time and taken to the police station for interview.  The CMA may have been monitoring the activity for some time and how a person deals with the first interview at the police station is crucial.

It is very difficult for those caught up in criminal investigations to understand that the process will generally take years, rather than months. We will help those involved to deal with the stress and uncertainty they will face.  We will always be alive to the question of whether we can do anything to stop the case going to trial.

As leaders in the field of extradition, we will advise you on jurisdictional issues, including extradition requests and red notices from foreign jurisdictions.  Our expertise in this area and close working relationships with lawyers from other jurisdictions is extremely valuable in these often cross-border investigations and prosecutions.

We have a dedicated reputation management team who can help to limit the reputation damage for individuals and companies who are riding the storm of a criminal investigation. Our employment team are at hand should the criminal investigation put an individual’s employment in jeopardy.

Notable cases

We have been involved in all bar one of the major cartel prosecutions and investigations to date and have been advising on the Enterprise Act 2002 from the moment that cartel agreements were first criminalised on 20 June 2003.  Our cases include Marine Hose, the BA - Virgin passenger fuel surcharge prosecution, pharmaceuticals, wire harness, commercial trucks and additional investigations that have not been made public. We have acted for a number of individuals facing investigation by the OFT and its successor, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA), under the Enterprise Act 2002.

 

Kingsley Napley LLP specialises in criminal cartel investigations, primarily representing individuals. 

Legal 500, Competition Litigation, 2015

Eve Giles is ‘clearly experienced and has good strategic thinking’, providing clients with ‘a top-class service’.

Legal 500, Competition Litigation, 2015

“Eve Giles is well versed in defending OFT investigations. Sources describe her as "thoughtful, considered and very responsive.

Chambers UK 2015, A Clients Guide to the UK Legal Profession

Pioneers in the area, with a wealth of expertise.

Chambers UK 2014, A Clients Guide to the UK Legal Profession

First-class reputation...Prominent cartel defence practice.

Chambers UK 2014, A Client's Guide to the UK Legal Profession

Cartels, Competition and Price Fixing Comment

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+44 (0)20 7814 1200

enquiries@kingsleynapley.co.uk

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