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As of 1 July 2016, the maximum fines that can be imposed by the ACM for competition law infringements are significantly higher.
The new maximum fines only apply to infringements committed after their entry into force. If the infringement began before this date but ended thereafter, the old maximum fines will apply.
For infringements relating to anticompetitive agreements or concerted practices, the ACM may impose fines of up to EUR 900,000 (previously, EUR 450,000) or 10% of the worldwide group turnover of the undertaking concerned (whichever is higher), multiplied by the number of years the infringement lasted — with a minimum of one year and a maximum of four years. Therefore, the relative maximum fine for such infringement may be 40% of the annual worldwide turnover of the group, which is significantly higher than the fine cap of 10% of annual worldwide turnover applied by the European Commission.
In addition, the ACM may impose fines of up to EUR 900,000 (previously, EUR 450,000) or 10% of the undertaking’s worldwide group turnover, whichever is higher, for “major” infringements (eg, abuse of a dominant position or failure to notify a concentration). The fines for “minor” infringements (eg, withholding information or providing inaccurate or misleading information to the authorities) can be up to EUR 900,000 (previously, EUR 450,000) or 1% of the company’s worldwide group turnover, whichever is higher.
The ACM can also impose personal fines of up to EUR 900,000 (previously, EUR 450,000) on natural persons that exercised de facto leadership over – or commissioned – a competition law infringement.
In case of recidivism, both the absolute and the relative maximum fines can be doubled. This applies if the undertaking concerned has received an irrevocable fine for a violation of a “same or similar statutory provision” within five years of the date of the fine report concerning the infringement. In practice, this means that the maximum fine for an infringement of the cartel prohibition can be as high as 80% of the annual worldwide turnover of the group.