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EU Readies Law to Help Price-Fixing Victims Sue for Damages

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Dec. 6 (Bloomberg) -- European Union regulators may make it easier for cartel victims to sue the perpetrators under proposals to be unveiled in “the coming months,” Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia said today.

The proposals will seek to “set up an EU-wide procedure for these compensation actions,” Almunia told a conference in Brussels.

Private damages lawsuits are rare in national courts across Europe. The European Commission, which yesterday levied record cartel fines of 1.47 billion euros ($1.9 billion) on producers of cathode-ray tubes for TVs and computer monitors, has championed such lawsuits as a way to compensate victims of illegal monopolies and cartels.

The damages legislation will also include rules on what documents claimants can obtain from EU regulators to bolster compensation lawsuits against cartel members, Almunia said.

Cartel victims taking legal action in national courts have asked for documents “that should have been protected because otherwise our leniency programs would not work,” Almunia said.

Possible rules on group lawsuits, or collective redress, “will come later,” he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Aoife White in Brussels at awhite62@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net.