BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Whistleblowers will be able to report suspected price-fixing online instead of showing up at the offices of the European Union’s antitrust regulators in an effort to make it easier for companies to come forward.
The European Commission’s leniency program, which rewards companies reporting either a cartel or providing evidence with reduced fines, has been a key tool in fighting cartels and other anti-competitive practices.
The current regime allows companies to provide evidence both in writing and orally at the Commission’s premises.
“Users of eLeniency can directly provide corporate statements and upload supporting documents on a dedicated secure server of the Commission,” the EU competition enforcer said.
It said in a statement that the online tool provides the same confidentiality and legal protection as the old method.
Submissions received online will not be made available to litigants in civil lawsuits, the Commission said, in a bid to reassure companies concerned about private damages actions.
The tool will be open for both cartel and non-cartel cases.
Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; Editing by Alexander Smith