It is common in EU competition law cases for fines to be imposed on parents as well as the subsidiary which actually carried out the infringement. This follows the established principle of parental responsibility for the actions of a subsidiary. Recently, there has been a reminder that private equity houses are also parents for this purpose and therefore at risk of fines for the activities of their investee companies.

The case in question involves an alleged cartel concerning submarine and underground power cables. Goldman Sachs indicated in a securities filing that it is one of the recipients of a Statement of Objections (SO) (preliminary statement of case) issued in July by the European Commission to participants in the alleged cartel. It received the SO due to an interest held by certain of the GS Capital Partners funds in a company active in the alleged cartel (Prysmian). This is regardless of the fact that GS had apparently exited the investment after the alleged infringements took place.