One of the new aspects introduced by Law 15/2007 of 2 July, on Defence of Competition, was the introduction in Spain of the clemency programme, which had already been successfully put into practice in the United States and the European Union.
The leniency programme allows companies that are participants in a cartel to report this situation to the Authority on Competition so that it can be investigated. If a company provides sufficient evidence, it may be made exempt from payment of the fine that it would otherwise face, or else may pay a reduced amount. If the Authority already had knowledge of the cartel reported, companies may still receive leniency for providing elements of evidence. It is very important for such companies to submit their request for clemency in a timely manner, since exemption from payment of the fine is conceded only to the first company to make a report. The second company and those thereafter will see only increasingly small reductions of their fines.
Companies that take advantage of the leniency programme must also end their participation in the cartel.
Cartels represent the most harmful attacks against effective competition, so use of the leniency programme as a way to improve cartel detection is a powerful tool in the hands of authorities on defence of competition.
If companies requesting clemency need any clarification about how to submit their request, they can contact CNMC's Office of Competition:
+ 91 787 68 44