Leniency (Amnesty) Plus: A Building Block or a Trojan Horse?

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Abstract

Leniency (amnesty) plus is one of the tools used in the fight against anticompetitive agreements. It allows a cartelist who did not manage to secure complete immunity under general leniency, to secure an additional reduction of sanctions in exchange for cooperation with the authorities with respect to operation of another prohibited agreement on an unrelated market. The instrument was developed in the United States and, in recent years, it was introduced in a number of jurisdictions. This article contextualises the operation of and rationale behind leniency plus, forewarning about its potential procollusive effects and the possibility of its strategic (mis)use by cartelists. It discusses theoretical, moral, and systemic (deterrence-related) problems surrounding this tool. It also provides a comparison of leniency plus in eleven jurisdictions, identifying common design flaws. This piece argues that leniency plus tends to be a problematic and poorly transplanted US legal innovation. Policy-makers considering its introduction should analyse it in light of institutional limits and local realities. Some of the regimes which already introduced it would be better off abandoning it.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)391-407
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Antitrust Enforcement
Volume3
Issue number2
Early online date27 Feb 2015
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Keywords

  • leniency
  • leniency plus
  • amnesty
  • immunity plus
  • bonus plus
  • self-reporting
  • deterrence
  • competition law
  • antitrust law
  • cartels
  • whistleblowers
  • horizontal agreements
  • penalty plus
  • omnibus question

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