Judgment of the Court of First Instance of 8 July 2008 in Case T-99/04 AC-Treuhand AG v Commission

In December 2003 the Commission adopted a decision finding that three producers of organic peroxides (chemicals used in the plastics and rubber industry) had implemented a cartel on the European market for those products. In its decision, the Commission found that AC-Treuhand AG, a consultancy firm, had provided those producers with various services and had played an essential role in the cartel by organising meetings and covering up evidence of the infringement. The Commission therefore concluded that that consultancy firm had also infringed the competition rules and imposed a fine on it of €1,000. The amount of the fine was set at this low level because of the novelty of the case. The Court of Justice has upheld the fine, holding that the fact that an undertaking is not active on the market on which the restriction of competition materialises does not rule out its liability for having participated in the implementation of a cartel. The mere fact that an undertaking has participated in a cartel only in a subsidiary, accessory or passive way is not sufficient to rule out its liability for the entire infringement but may none the less be taken into consideration for the purposes of determining the level of the penalty.

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