Violations of antitrust law are subject to rigorous sanctions. In 2019, Germany’s Federal Cartel Office, the Bundeskartellamt, imposed fines totaling around 848 million euros in response to illegal agreements.
According to its own information, the Bundeskartellamt imposed fines totaling around 848 million euros on 23 companies and associations plus 12 natural persons in the past year due to illegal cartel agreements. These related to, among other things, the wholesale trade of bicycles, steel procurement for automobile production, magazines, and industrial batteries.
Illegal agreements stymie competition and have an effect on prices and quality. We at MTR Rechtsanwälte, a commercial law firm with extensive experience in the fields of antitrust and competition law, note that this explains the rigorous approach to sanctions in response to violations of antitrust and competition law.
However, violations are by no means always as obvious as, for instance, in cases involving price rigging or territorial agreements. Even individual clauses within agreements may be in breach of competition law and give rise to commensurate sanctions. For this reason, it is always a good idea to review agreements, including with a view to possible violations of antitrust or competition law.
To avoid or reduce fines, it may be advisable to make use of the leniency program and notify the cartel authorities of violations.