CADE’s General Superintendence opens investigation in the supply of spark plugs
The General Superintendence of the Administrative Council for Economic Defense – CADE opened on 3 September 2014 a formal investigation (Administrative Proceeding nº 08700.005789/2014-13) to investigate an alleged cartel in the national and international market of spark plugs. The spark plugs are used in the gasoline, ethanol, natural gas, or flex, combustion engines of automobiles.
The preliminary evidences indicate that the investigated companies, Bosch and NGK, agreed on prices offered to their clients, volume of sales, amounts to be charged and price adjustments to automakers, dealerships and car fixing offices. Furthermore, the automakers could have been divided between the participants of the alleged cartel.
The alleged anti-competitive practices may have occurred between 2000 and 2013. The collusion may have been agreed by both the mother companies abroad and its Brazilian branches.
The case began in July with the signature of a leniency agreement between CADE’s General Superintendence, the Federal Prosecutor’s Office, the State Prosecutor’s Office of São Paulo and the company Bosch.
Through the leniency program, participants of a cartel denounce the illegal practice and engage in the investigation as collaborator, in exchange of immunity or reduction of penalty.
With the formal opening of the administrative proceeding, the investigated parties will be notified to present their defenses. Once the investigation phase in complete, CADE’s General Superintendence will issue an opinion for the condemnation or the filing of the case. CADE’s Tribunal will be responsible for final decision.