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Leniency Programme

The Bundeskartellamt can grant cartel participants, who by their cooperation contribute to uncovering a cartel, immunity from or a reduction of fines. The Leniency Programme sets the conditions under which immunity from or a reduction of fines can be granted.

Since 2000 the Bundeskartellamt has an extremely successful key witness programme, the so-called Leniency Programme. In 2006 the programme was fundamentally revised. Meanwhile over half of all cartel proceedings are triggered by information from leniency applicants.

The Leniency Programme can apply to all participants in a cartel, natural persons as well as companies. The fine to be imposed on a cartel participant is waived if he is the first to contact the Bundeskartellamt in order to uncover the cartel. Immunity from fines can also be granted at a later date, if the Bundeskartellamt is provided with decisive evidence without which the existence of a cartel could not have been proved. The sole ringleader of the cartel and cartel members who coerced others to participate in the cartel cannot be granted immunity from fines.

The fine can be reduced by up to 50% for all other leniency applicants depending on the value of their contributions to proving the offence. In this respect it is also important at which stage the application for leniency has been made and whether the applicant has contacted the Bundeskartellamt faster than other cartel members. By providing some information in advance the applicant can place a "marker" to ensure himself a good position in the queue of leniency applicants.

The requirement for immunity from and a reduction of fines is the continuous and unlimited cooperation of the leniency applicant with the Bundeskartellamt.

Number of leniency applications filed - 2001 to 2014

Leniency applications filed - 2001 to 2014 Leniency applications filed - 2001 to 2014

If you wish to apply for leniency or place a marker please contact the Special Unit for Combating Cartels (Contact person: Dr Katharina Krauß; Tel: +49 228 9499-386).
The Special Unit for Combating Cartels can also be contacted for confidential discussions and questions regarding the Bundeskartellamt's Leniency Programme.

Additional Information