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Court Clears Way for Claim Against Cartel Members

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A company that had been party to an international price fixing cartel and was fined by the EU Competition Commission for its breach of competition law was subsequently sued by one of its customers for the loss of profits the customer claimed to have suffered as a result of the conspiracy.

The company being sued opposed the proceedings, but the court ruled that once the essential ingredients of the right of action had been established by the Competition Commission's own proceedings, the claim could proceed despite some of the facts which formed the basis of the lawsuit being only 'consistent with' the decision of the Competition Commission but not 'contained within' it.

The key point in such circumstances is that not only are companies that have breached the law subject to the sanction of the competition authorities but they may also be sued for the losses incurred by those directly impoverished by the breach.

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