In Australia, Canada, the UK, Chile, France, India, Israel, Singapore and the UK, antitrust agencies may treat the existence of a compliance program as a mitigating factor in so far as it evidences a genuine compliance culture. In France, a reduction (typically 5%; exceptionally 10%) is available for settling companies that either did not have a program but commit to setting one up, or which commit to upgrading an existing program according to best practice. In Brazil, the antitrust authority is considering issuing regulations related to compliance programs, which might reward effective programs with a lower fine1 and draft Italian antitrust guidelines were published earlier this year providing that robust and effective compliance programs will be a mitigating factor in calculating the level of an antitrust fine. On October 31, 2014 the Italian Antitrust Authoritypublished its Guidelines on the criteria to be followed in order to quantify the administrative fines in cases of serious violation of national or EU regulations governing anti-competitive agreements and abuse of a dominant position. The Guidelines list the adoption and enforcement of a specific and adequate compliance program in line with the best European and national practices as one of the mitigating circumstance to be taken into account to decrease the starting amount of the fine (up to a maximum of 15%). Click here for more information.
Last week we analyzed the view of US antitrust enforcers on the existence of a compliance program when assessing the punishment for cartel violations. How do other countries treat the existence of a compliance program?