In 2006, the Commission found that five groups of companies had been involved in an illegal price-fixing and market-sharing cartel in the synthetic rubbers market between May 1996 and November 2002, and imposed a fine of more than EUR 519 million. On 13 July 2011, the General Court handed down several judgments in relation to certain appeals against the Commission’s decision and the financial penalty imposed.
The General Court rejected in their entirety the arguments brought by the Shell group companies, and upheld the initial fine imposed on Dow Deutschland despite finding that the period of infringement was shorter than that determined by the Commission.
The fines imposed on Eni and its subsidiary Polimeri Europa were reduced from EUR 272.25 million to EUR 181.5 million as the Commission failed to provide sufficient evidence of recidivism after a complex corporate restructuring changed the structure and control of the companies involved.
In relation to Unipetrol, its subsidiary Kaučuk, and Trade-Stomil, the General Court stated that any doubt over their involvement must operate to their advantage. Consequently, the General Court annulled the Commission's decision in relation to each of these companies finding that the Commission had failed to adduce to the requisite standard sufficient evidence of their participation in the meetings at which the infringement occurred.