• Professional News
  • 20 December 2012

The Danish Parliament enacts amendments to the Danish Competition Act

The Danish Parliament has enacted material amendments to the Danish Competition Act - as of 1 March 2013 cartel activities are punishable by up to six years of imprisonment. On 19 December 2012, the Danish Parliament enacted amendments to the Danish Competition Act and to the Danish Criminal Code proposed by the Danish Minister of Business and Growth. Most significant are the amendments concerning punitive sanctions concerning cartel activities, as cartel activities as of March 2013 will be punishable by up to six years of imprisonment.

By bill of 26 October 2012, the Minister of Business and Growth has proposed a number of amendments to the Competition Act and the Criminal Code. The proposed amendment to the Competition Act contains the following: 

  • Introduction of a penalty of up to six years of imprisonment for participation in cartels
  • Substantial increase in the level of fines imposable
  • Changes in the leniency program
  • Introduction of interim measures

The amendments were initiated by the Minister in order to increase the effectiveness of the competition rules thereby ensuring competition.

Penalty of imprisonment
The legislative proposal provides for an amendment to the section on sanctions, introducing imprisonment as a sanction for the participation in cartels. Imprisonment may be imposed for natural persons who deliberately participate in cartels. The sanction is intended for senior officers and directors.

Substantial increase in the level of fines imposable
The bill provides for a substantial increase in the level of fines imposable on both legal and natural persons. The bill provides for a minimum fine of DKK 50,000 for natural persons up to DKK 200,000 for violations of a particularly aggravating nature, while the bill provides for fines up to DKK 4,000,000 for legal persons and up to DKK +20,000,000 for violations of a particularly aggravating nature.

Interim measures
The bill grants the Danish Competition Authorities powers to order interim measures e.g. to order a potential anti-competitive agreement terminated. Furthermore, the proposal grants the Danish Competition Authorities powers to order interim measures that ensure due and correct compliance with already ordered interim measures.

On 19 December 2012, the bill was enacted by the Danish Parliament. During the parliamentary debate, several questions concerning the proposal were raised - most significantly a question concerning the maximum penalty of imprisonment imposable under the amendment of the Competition Act and the Criminal Code. Referring to a memorandum from the Danish Ministry of Justice, the Minister concluded that under certain particularly aggravating circumstances the maximum penalty imposable under the new piece of legislation will be nine years of imprisonment.

The amendments will enter into force on 1 March 2013.

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