New tool to help, protect anonymous whistleblowers
17 March, 2017
A new tool to make it easier for individuals to alert the Commission about secret cartels and other antitrust violations while maintaining their anonymity was last Thursday launched by the Commission, the EU press service reported. Individuals can now help anonymously in the fight against cartels and other anti-competitive practices. These practices include agreeing on prices or procurement bids, keeping products off the market or unfairly excluding rivals, and they can cause immense damage to Europe's economy.
“If people are concerned by business practices that they think are wrong, they can help put things right. Inside knowledge can be a powerful tool to help the Commission uncover cartels and other anti-competitive practices. With our new tool it is possible to provide information, while maintaining anonymity. Information can contribute to the success of our investigations quickly and more efficiently to the benefit of consumers and the EU's economy as a whole,” Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said.
Until now, most cartels have been detected through the Commission's leniency programme, which allows businesses to report their own involvement in a cartel in exchange for a reduction of the fine imposed on them. The new system increases the likelihood of detection and prosecution and so stands to further deter businesses from entering or remaining in cartels or carrying out other types of illegal anti-competitive behaviour. It therefore complements and reinforces the effectiveness of the Commission's leniency programme.