Capital Legal Services team protected interests of a major international transportation company
Our client was acknowledged as not being culpable and was excluded by the Russian antitrust authority from the list of companies suspected of participating in a cartel. The associates of the Antitrust Practice of Capital Legal Services managed to convince the antitrust authority of the client’s good faith on the market of sea and ocean shipping at the stage of case examination.
At the beginning of 2013, the Russian Federal Antitrust Service (the FAS) conducted an unplanned inspection of activity of the agents of major sea and ocean container shipping lines. Based on materials obtained in the course of the inspection, the antitrust authority initiated a case on signs of a cartel agreement in the actions of the shipping lines agents. Similar cases were initiated by the European Commission and antitrust authorities of the USA and China.
In the opinion of the Russian antitrust authority, the shipping lines agents simultaneously established the same markups on freight rates for container shipping services on South-East Asian routes. The information exchanged by the antitrust authorities of Russia, China, Europe and USA showed signs of full-scale international collusion of major participants on the market of ocean shipping lines.
After examining the materials of the inspection and information obtained from foreign colleagues, carriers and their agents, the FAS adopted the decision to hold a special expert examination devoted to the complex study of the market of international linear container shipping. Such decision was based on the complex and specific nature of the market where the FAS suspected the cartel.
In the course of protecting interests of our client, the associates of Capital Legal Services presented to the antitrust authority strong arguments that there were no signs of collusion in the client’s actions. All information provided to the FAS both at the stage of the unplanned inspection and after initiating the case pointed out independence of our client’s pricing policy. Furthermore, the fact that the European Commission excluded our client from a similar case in Europe also served as indirect proof that the client of Capital Legal Services was innocent.
After completion of the complex expert examination of the market, which lasted approximately a year, and the renewal of the case examination, the FAS Committee agreed with the arguments of associates that there were no signs of violation of the antitrust legislation in the actions of our client, but not regarding the absence of a cartel as such. The examination is continuing in relation to other participants of the case, and in addition to violation related to collusion, they are being accused of concerted actions.
“Regardless of the long investigation, we are glad that we managed to convince the antitrust authority of our position at the stage of the case examination. In the course of the inspection, we submitted to the FAS exhaustive information confirming that our client carried on activity independently of other market participants and did not participate in price or other collusion. Apparently, the conclusions made by the experts following the results of the market study only confirmed our position, which allowed the FAS to adopt a fair decision in relation to our client,” says Irina Akimova, Head of the Antitrust Practice and Of Counsel at Capital Legal Services, concerning the results of the case examination.
Head of Antitrust Practice