(BRUSSELS) – A new online ‘eLeniency’ tool, launched by the EU on Tuesday, is aimed at making it it easier for companies and lawyers to submit documents as part of leniency and settlement proceedings in cartel cases.
Currently leniency and settlement proceedings, as well as proceedings in non-cartel cooperation cases, already provide the possibility for companies and their legal representatives to submit statements and documents, both in writing and orally.
The new eLeniency tool allows companies involved in such proceedings and their lawyers to file statements and submissions online, as part of leniency applications to receive immunity or a reduction of fines, as part of cartel settlement procedures, or as part of cooperation in non-cartel cases.
This means that companies or their lawyers will not need to come to the Commission’s premises to provide oral statements, as has been the procedure until now.
As regards leniency applications, the Commission says users of eLeniency can directly provide corporate statements and upload supporting documents on a dedicated secure server of the Commission. eLeniency can also be used for providing replies to requests for information made under the Commission’s Leniency Notice.
With regard to cartel settlement procedures, eLeniency can be used for submitting documents, providing comments or making formal settlement submissions to the Commission.
The eLeniency tool can also be used to submit corporate statements, provide comments or make formal settlement submissions to the Commission when a company cooperates in non-cartel proceedings with a view to acknowledging an infringement of Article 101 or 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).
Access to eLeniency is secure and restricted. The eLeniency system provides the same guarantees in terms of confidentiality and legal protection as under the traditional procedure. All data is transferred securely and cannot be copied or printed.
Corporate statements under the Leniency Notice that are made via eLeniency are protected against discovery in civil litigation, in the same way as oral submissions.
The safeguards for ensuring confidentiality and legal protection are explained on the Commission’s competition website and are equivalent to the current oral procedure.