At an EU General Court hearing on 22 October 2020, Nichicon Corp, a Japanese capacitor manufacturer, argued that the level of the fine imposed on it by the European Commission (€ 7.29 million) was disproportionate, and that sufficient proof of (the extent of) its involvement in the cartel was lacking. The fine stems from a 2018 European Commission decision in which eight companies were fined for their involvement in a cartel between aluminium and tantalum electrolytic capacitors from Japan. The Commission had relied upon a leniency statement of a competitor of Nichicon Corp as proof of its involvement in the cartel. According to Nichicon Corp, such statements cannot be relied upon because competitor companies might be biased against other (suspected) cartel members with a view to the leniency they might receive. The Commission argued that there was no reason to assume that leniency statements would be biased or that a company would lie. That would not be in the company’s interest, because, if the Commission were to find out, the leniency might be denied as a result. Nichicon Corp further contested the extent of its involvement, saying that it had been held liable for meetings in which it did not participate, as well as that (its involvement in) the cartel had no clear link with the EEA. The Commission countered by saying that it was sufficient that it had shown that there was a “single and continuous infringement” which also covered the production in Europe. As to the level of the fine, Nichicon Corp argued that the fine was disproportionate compared to the level of fines in other jurisdictions for the same conduct, but the Commission took the view that no principle applies in this case to the effect that a person/company should not be fined twice. Nichicon v. Commission T-342/18.
|1||Nichicon v. Commission T-342/18.|