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RTPR Allen & Overy successful in reducing the fine imposed on Aegon by the Competition Council

Date: 03/23/2016

RTPR Allen & Overy has obtained in court the reduction with over 80% of the fine imposed on “Aegon Societate de Administrare a unui Fond de Pensii Administrat Privat S.A.” (AEGON) by the Competition Council.

A legal team of RTPR Allen & Overy, specialising in litigation and in competition law, having as members Prof Lucian Mihai (Of Counsel), Roxana Ionescu and Adriana Dobre (Senior Associates) and Andrei Mihul (Associate), advised and represented AEGON in the lawsuit for the annulment of the decision of the Competition Council under which the company was sanctioned along with other managing companies of mandatory private pension funds (Pillar II) for an alleged allocation of customers.

“This has been a case in which we firmly believed from the very beginning, and we managed indeed to convince the Bucharest Court of Appeal in the first instance to annul in full the fine imposed on AEGON. Unfortunately following the ruling rendered by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) on a preliminary question referred to by the High Court of Cassation and Justice in another case file having as object the annulment request against the same decision lodged by another sanctioned company, the High Court of Cassation and Justice had to consider the existence of an infringement of the competition law and sent the case file for retrial to the Bucharest Court of Appeal in order to rule on the lawfulness of the fine calculation. Although we believe that the correct solution would have been the annulment of the decision of the Competition Council (as we provided enough arguments and evidence to demonstrate AEGON did not infringe the law), the reduction of the fine with over 80% represents a genuine success, given the CJEU ruling”, declared Roxana Ionescu, a Senior Associate at RTPR Allen & Overy who coordinates the competition law department.

“Taking into account the very restrictive limits of the retrial that the High Court of Cassation and Justice had to impose as a result of the ruling received from CJEU, we believe that the decision of the Bucharest Court of Appeal represents the best result for our client.

This favourable result, together with, in distinct cases, the annulment of the fine imposed on Panasonic Marketing Europe GmbH and the reducing of the fine imposed on MOL Petroleum Products Romania (both rulings having been recently rendered), constitute a recognition of our efforts and a confirmation of our expertise in competition litigation”, declared Adriana Dobre, Senior Associate in RTPR Allen & Overy’s litigation and arbitration department.

RTPR was founded in 2004 and has been working in association with the London based international law firm Allen & Overy LLP since 2008. RTPR Allen & Overy has 42 lawyers, including 5 partners: Costin Tărăcilă, Victor Pădurari, Alexandru Retevoescu, Mihai Ristici, Valentin Berea and Professor Lucian Mihai, Of counsel.

RTPR Allen & Overy’s main areas of activity are: financing, mergers and acquisitions, capital markets, insolvency and restructuring, competition, labour law, intellectual property law, litigation and arbitration, and providing advice across a range of business sectors including energy, telecommunications, finance, real estate and the pharmaceutical industry.
Selected transactions in which RTPR Allen & Overy have been recently involved are set out below:

• successfully representing Panasonic Marketing Europe GmbH in its successful action for cancelling the decision of the Competition Council under which the company was sanctioned along with other 5 companies, members of ECOTIC, for allegedly concluding anti-trust agreements during the buy-back campaigns organised by ECOTIC in 2009
• MOL Romania in court proceedings against the decision of the Romanian Competition Council by which all six major oil companies active in Romania were fined for an alleged cartel concerning the withdrawal from the market of a fuel type in a case with total fines exceeding EUR 200 million. The court has irrevocably ruled for the partial annulment of the decision and the substantial reduction of the fine.
• successfully representing British American Tobacco in an investigation of the Romanian Competition Council which was closed without any sanctions to the client.
• Profi Rom Food in court proceedings against the decision of the Romanian Competition Council fining a vertical price fixing agreement. The fine has been irrevocably reduced by the High Court of Cassation and Justice with 75%.
• Tymbark Maspex in an investigation of the Romanian Competition Council on the food retail market.

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