On 16 March 2017 the European Commission announced the launch of a new tool to assist individuals in alerting it to cartels and other anti-competitive practices. It will complement and reinforce the existing leniency programme, which enables companies to report their involvement in such illegal behaviour in exchange for a reduction of the fine imposed on them.
The tool will enable individuals to maintain their anonymity by making use of a specially designed encrypted messaging system run by an external service provider. The intermediary service provider will relay only the content of received messages to the Commission without disclosing any metadata which could identify the whistleblower.
Individuals who are willing to reveal their identity may contact the Commission directly using a dedicated phone number and email address.
The Commission anticipates that the new tool will improve the precision and reliability of the information which is divulged and therefore increase the likelihood of successful prosecution.
In parallel, on 20 March 2017 the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced the launch of an advertising campaign to encourage those who have witnessed illegal cartel activity to report it, by offering a reward of up to £100,000 as well as promising them anonymity.