Paris Court of Appeal Annuls and Reduces Fines Imposed by the French Competition Authority for a Cartel in the Railway Maintenance Sector

On 29 June 2010, the Paris Court of Appeal (the "Court") annulled a cartel fine imposed on a railway maintenance firm, Offroy, because the French Competition Authority (the "Authority") lacked sufficient evidence to prove that the company had taken part in a cartel.

Moreover, the fines imposed on two other companies, Vecchietti and ETF, were reduced. The Court ruled that the Authority had wrongly increased the fines for recidivism, noting that the Authority had mistakenly taken into account a cartel infringement that occurred after the exchange of information concerned.

However, the additional appeals of two other companies, Colas Rail and Pichenot Bouille, were rejected. In addition, all claims concerning the authorisations of the dawn raids, which may have allowed the Authority to prove the existence of a cartel, were also dismissed.

On 29 July 2009, the Authority had fined the five railway maintenance firms a total of €4.2 million for exchanging information before submitting bids in response to a tender procedure.

As a consequence of the Court's ruling, Offroy has been relieved of its €500,000 fine and allegations of its involvement in the...

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