Antitrust watchdog revises whistleblower protection in cartel cases

The Competition Commission on Thursday published a revised Leniency Policy for Individuals Involved in Cartel Conduct to offer better protection for whistleblowers.

The antitrust watchdog said the updated policy will provide clearer guidance and enhanced incentives for individuals to cease their involvement in cartel conduct and report to the commission, which will further strengthen its cartel detection and enforcement efforts.

Under the current leniency framework, leniency is granted to the first cartel member who reports the cartel conduct.

The revised policy will now see leniency also granted to individuals who first provide substantial assistance to the investigation and subsequent enforcement action of cartel conduct which the Commission is already assessing or investigating.

Separately, the revised policy has opened up the possibility of leniency for the first individual who reports a cartel to the commission, even if leniency has already been granted to an undertaking in the same case.

The commission said the revised policy enhances the incentives for an individual involved in a cartel to come forward. However, it stressed that, as with the previous policy, leniency is not available to individuals who are the ringleaders of the cartel conduct or who have coerced other parties to engage in the cartel conduct.