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The first example: settlement and clemency mechanisms, unite! – Cartels, Monopolies

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On May 25, 2022, the Turkish Competition Authority announced the first example of joint enforcement of settlement and active cooperation (i.e. leniency) instruments in Turkish competition law. The brief decision of the Competition Council reveals that the investigation examined whether two suppliers of natural mineral water, Beypazarı İçecek 1 and Kınık Maden Suları 2—violated Article 4 of Law No. 4054 on the protection of competition by creating a cartel through the exchange of information on current and future prices, dates of price changes and increase in prices market price of natural mineral waters.

Article 7 of the settlement regulation provides that the settlement mechanism and the active cooperation/leniency instrument can be applied together. In such a case, the fine reduction resulting from the leniency application and the settlement process are added together and applied together. This decision is an important example demonstrating that the parties subject to a competition investigation can apply for leniency while benefiting from the settlement procedure.

As part of the settlement process, the parties investigated agree to the violation and the administrative monetary penalty to be imposed by the Commission, and the Commission terminates its investigation at an early stage and reduces the penalties from 10% to 25%. As for the leniency mechanism, a member of the cartel can apply for leniency until the official receipt of the investigation report. Depending on the timing of the application, the applicant may receive full immunity or reduced fines.

In this first example of the joint application of the settlement and leniency mechanisms, the Competition Council reduced the administrative fines imposed on Kınık and Beypazarı by 35% and 30% respectively, on the grounds that they had admitted the cartel and actively cooperated with the Competition Authority. The Commission has decided to end its investigation because the parties have reached an agreement with the Autorité, thus accepting the nature and extent of the infringement as well as the fines to be imposed by the Commission. In return, the Conseil reduced the penalty imposed on both parties by 25% (in addition to the reduction in the fine for the parties’ active cooperation with the Autorité de la concurrence).

As a result, the Commission imposed a total pecuniary administrative fine of approx. 928,000 TL (for 2022 around 55,000 EUR or 57,000 USD) 3 on Kınık and approx. 9.8 million TL (for 2022 approximately 560,000 EUR or 600,000 USD) 4 on Beypazarı, based on their 2020 and 2021 revenue figures, respectively.

A detailed assessment of the Commission’s decision will be available once the Commission’s reasoned decision is published. Keep following us for developments.


1 Beypazarı İçecek Pazarlama Dağıtım Ambalaj Turizm Petrol İnşaat Sanayi ve Ticaret A.Ş.

2 Kınık Maden Suları A.Ş.

3 Exchange rate: 1 EUR = 17.42 TL; 1 USD = 16.35 TL.

4 Exchange rate: 1 EUR = 17.42 TL; 1 USD = 16.35 TL.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide on the subject. Specialist advice should be sought regarding your particular situation.

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