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THE FUTURE OF COMPETITION LAW: THE FUTURE OF COMPETITION LAW

Colombia is a country that constantly imports legal figures from other nations. One of these recent imports is the “Leniency” or “Leniency”, adopted by Article 14 of Law 1340 of 2009, which created the “Collaboration Benefits Program”.
This figure allows persons who have participated in cartels to obtain benefits against sanctions, if they collaborate with the delivery of information and evidence that will enable the Superintendence of Industry and Commerce (SIC) to dismantle this type of situations, which alter the natural balance of the markets.
Although whistleblowing became part of our legal system in July 2009, it was not until mid-2014 that for the first time some companies availed themselves of the “Collaboration Benefits Program”. This first group of companies was called the “Diaper Cartel”, which has undoubtedly been one of the anti-competitive practices that has received the most media coverage, especially due to the nature of the product and the million-dollar penalties that the companies involved may receive, as well as the discounts that could be obtained by those who have joined the program.
It is important to highlight that the SIC has the capacity to sanction a company with fines of up to 100,000 Smlmv, a figure that does not go unnoticed by those involved in this type of collusive conduct, especially when the entities that participated in the “Diaper Cartel” could end up paying close to $60,000 million each.
It should be recalled that once the door to informing has been opened, any member of the cartel -other than the promoter or instigator- may avail himself of the benefits of the program, being exempted from 100% of the penalty, while his competitors who also participated in the program will be fined or, if they obtain a reduction, these will not be greater than those reached by the one who informed on the cartel in the first place.
On July 16 of this year, Decree 1523 of 2015 was issued, which completed the regulation of some situations that were not entirely clear; one of them, for example, is the percentage of reduction of the penalty for people who are not the first in time to apply to the program and also apply for these benefits. In this case, the aforementioned decree determined that “the second applicant will be granted a reduction of between 30% and 50%” while “the third and other subsequent applicants will be granted a reduction of up to 25%”.
Credit: www.larepublica.co
Author: Juan Esteban Vallejo

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