To fine or not to fine: The Asia-Pacific Tipline for 12 June 2020
In a series of recent decisions, there appears to be some divergence in the Asia-Pacific region on the need to conclude investigations with fines. A cartel case in India against major global companies ended without fines, because the competition watchdog felt that cease-and-desist commitments were sufficient. Japan’s competition authority, which has been testing out its newfound power to accept commitments in lieu of long, drawn out antitrust investigations, also accepted commitments in a resale price maintenance probe – and the company did not have to admit guilt. But down in New Zealand, a court issued fines (with the competition authority’s support) against cartelists who admitted to their behaviour and seemingly violated the country’s antitrust law by accident. The defendants may count themselves lucky, as New Zealand is less than a year from criminalising such conduct.
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