The Court of Justice of the European Union (“ECJ”) handed down its judgment in the appeals of five companies against the judgment of the General Court (“GC”) for their participation in a cartel on the international removal services market in Belgium. The ECJ dismissed the companies’ appeals and upheld the fines imposed by the GC. However, the ECJ set aside the GC’s judgment in so far as it annulled the fine imposed on Stichting Administratiekantoor Portielje (“Portielje”), the parent company of Gosselin Group NV (“Gosselin”) which was one of the participants in the cartel. According to the ECJ, the GC had erred in law by holding that a sanction could be imposed on Portielje, the parent foundation of Gosselin, only if, viewed in isolation, it could be classified as an undertaking for the purposes of competition law. The ECJ noted that, based on case law, liability may be imputed to a legal entity for the conduct of another legal entity where the latter does not decide independently upon its own conduct on the market. It follows that in the context of penalizing an undertaking for an infringement of competition law, it is irrelevant whether each individual legal entity comprising the undertaking is itself economically active and therefore individually constitutes an undertaking. The ECJ concluded that since Portielje exercised 100 % control of Gosselin, the GC was wrong to hold that the mere fact that Portielje did not make any formal management decisions during the period in respect of which it was held to be jointly and severally liable for payment of the fine was sufficient to rebut the presumption of the actual exercise of decisive influence on Gosselin. Therefore, the ECJ set aside the GC’s judgment in this respect and upheld the fine imposed by the Commission on Portielje. Source:Court of Justice of the European Union Press Release No 11/07/2013 and Judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union, C-440/11 P – Commission v Stichting Administratiekantoor Portielje, 11/07/2013