June 16, 2014

EU General Court Upholds Record 1.06 Billion Euro Antitrust Fine Against Intel

A View from Constantine Cannon’s London Office

By Irene Fraile

The General Court of the European Union has dismissed Intel’s appeal of the European Commission´s decision fining the computer chip manufacturer a record 1.06 billion euros for breaching EU competition law.

The European Commission imposed the fine on Intel in May 2009, after finding that Intel abused its dominant position in the x86 CPU microprocessors market by attempting to foreclose Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), its main rival, between 2002 and 2007.

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Categories: Antitrust Enforcement, Antitrust Litigation, International Competition Issues

    June 9, 2014

    Container Shipping Companies Seek To Steer Clear Of European Antitrust Shoals

    A View from Constantine Cannon’s London Office

    By Natalia Mikolajczyk and Richard Pike

    Major container shipping companies are attempting to resolve the European Commission’s antitrust probe into their practice of publicly announcing price increases.

    The two biggest players in the container shipping market, A.P. Moeller-Maersk A/S and Mediterranean Shipping Company, hope to end the proceedings without paying any fines, according to news reports.

    Since 2009, container liner shipping companies have been publicly announcing their plans to increase prices, often through press releases available on company websites.  Between 2009 and 2013, carriers on the benchmark Asia-to-Europe route gave advance notice, via press release, of at least 34 rate increases.  These announcements, which were made several times a year, included information on the amount of the rate increase and the date of implementation.

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    Categories: Antitrust Enforcement, International Competition Issues

      May 16, 2014

      European Commissioner Rebuffs German CEO’s Criticisms Of Google Search Engine Settlement

      A View from Constantine Cannon’s London Office

      By Michael Petrides

      The European Commission’s Competition Commissioner, Joaquin Almunia, is strongly defending the EC from charges that its proposed settlement with Google concerning search engine practices would permit Google to expand its dominant market position.

      Commissioner Alumina’s defense of the proposed settlement joins a debate with Matthias Döpfner, CEO of German publishing giant Axel Springer.

      This blog commented in February on Google’s proposed commitments to settle its long-running antitrust case with the EC over its search engine practices. In the meantime, and before the commitments have been “market tested,” Döpfner has launched a scathing attack against the antitrust regulator.

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      Categories: Antitrust Enforcement, International Competition Issues

        April 15, 2014

        Barclays Settles Second LIBOR Mis-Selling Case

        A View from Constantine Cannon’s London Office

        By Natalia Mikolajczyk

        Barclays confirmed on Friday that it has settled another case alleging that it mis-sold LIBOR-tied derivative products.

        The lawsuit was filed by Domingos Da Silva Teixeira (DST), a family-owned construction and property company based in Braga, Portugal. As reported by the Financial Times, DST alleged that the British bank engaged in mis-selling, which involves misrepresenting the characteristics of a product or service, by “repeatedly induc[ing] it to restructure and replace its derivative products.”

        DST identified 16 allegedly unsuitable derivative transactions, including interest-rate swaps, commodity-based swaps and a foreign-exchange swap. DST sought damages of 11.1 million euros ($15.4 million) in its claim before the Commercial Court in London. Although Barclays has admitted in a June 2012 settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice that it engaged in rigging of LIBOR and EURIBOR, Barclays maintained that DST did not suffer any loss from the manipulation. click here for more »

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        Categories: Antitrust Litigation, International Competition Issues

          April 9, 2014

          Barclays Settles First LIBOR “Test Case”

          A View from Constantine Cannon’s London Office

          By Michael Petrides

          Barclays announced on Monday that it has reached an out of court settlement of British LIBOR-related litigation with Graiseley Properties, owner of Guardian Care Homes (GCH).

          The case concerned two interest rate swap contracts entered into by Graiseley and Barclays. Graiseley suffered substantial losses when base LIBOR rates fell.  Graiseley sought to escape its liability to Barclays by asserting claims that Barclays engaged in mis-selling, which involves misrepresenting the characteristics of a product or service.  Although Grassley originally alleged a case of innocent misrepresentation by Barclays, it succeeded in persuading the court to allow it to add fraudulent misrepresentation claims based on Barclay’s knowledge of LIBOR rigging once the LIBOR scandal became public knowledge.

          The case received publicity as a result of its being treated as a test case for other LIBOR rigging claims and because of certain comments by judges hearing applications in the case that were critical of Barclay’s arguments.  It was expected that the trial this month would have led to the public disclosure of a large volume of documents relevant to LIBOR rigging (up to 200,000 documents according to pre-trial hearings) as well as embarrassing testimony by key former employees, including former Barclays CEO Bob Diamond, who resigned in 2012 following the LIBOR-related fines imposed by the U.K. Financial Services Authority.

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          Categories: Antitrust Litigation, International Competition Issues

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