Hybrid Settlements: Cartel Facilitation and Procedural Safeguards in Icap

The General Court of the European Union (GC) handed down a significant judgment in Icap PLC, Icap Management Services Ltd, and Icap New Zealand Ltd v the European Commission (Case T-180/15) on 10 November 2017 (ICAP), partially annulling the infringement decision of the European Commission (Commission) against Icap. 

As well as being only the second case to deal with the concept of “cartel facilitation” and upholding the notion that undertakings that facilitate the implementation of cartels may be held liable for infringing Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), the judgment also highlights the procedural difficulties that face the Commission in so called “hybrid settlement” procedures (in which some, but not all, parties to an infringement agree to a settlement). The Court emphasised that the Commission must observe the principle of the presumption of innocence with regard to a non-settling party, in particular when adopting the settlement decision in relation to the other parties. The Court’s ruling is also noteworthy insofar as it suggests that an infringement of a fundamental legal principle, such as the presumption of innocence, does not necessarily affect the validity of an act.

This article first appeared in Competition Law Insight in February 2018 and is reproduced with permission.