Relaxing whilst doing Competition Law is not an Oxymoron

Archive for July 17th, 2012

Enforcement menu: shrimps

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Last Friday the European Commission confirmed that it has addressed a Statement of Objections to four traders of North Sea Shrimp over a suspected cartel. We learnt the news through one of the sites that we check several times a day:; see here).

Some of you have conveyed to us the suspicion that, in reality, DG Comp has sent this SOs in an attempt to force us to write about it. According to this theory, the guys at Bubba Comp, DG Gump. DG Comp were worried about our silent week and decided to resort to the big guns: a food case. Judging by precedents (notably our well known endive saga), they knew that we wouldn’t let it pass by without a comment.

As credible as this theory may sound…. the sending of these SOs at this time of the year is in reality a classic piece of July desk clearing on the part of the Commission. Getting one of these right before the holidays is one of the occupational hazards of being a competition lawyer in private practice in Brussels (the other one coming the run up Christmas).

In any event, we should not be making jokes about this. It is a serious matter. Nicolas – a renowned shrimp consumer may moreover be a victim of this alleged shrimp conspiracy-  One nonetheless wonders: have they caught the big fish? It certainly isn’t small fry!

PS. A Chillin’Leak: We have been told by very reliable sources that the Commission found the evidence for this case during a “fishing expedition”.

Written by Alfonso Lamadrid

17 July 2012 at 9:23 pm