Most jurisdictions today have developed programmes that offer leniency in order to encourage violators to come forward and confess the participation to the cartel and to implicate their co-conspirators with first-hand, direct “insider” evidence that provides convincing proof of the illegal conduct. By offering amnesty to the first conspirator who fully co-operates with a competition agency, or a more lenient treatment to subsequent applicants, amnesty/leniency programmes are intended to induce cartel members to come forward and disclose the existence of a cartel, and to provide evidence of their involvement in the conspiracy. The main objective of these programmes is to uncover conspiracies that would otherwise go undetected. They elicit confessions, direct evidence about other participants, and leads that investigators can follow for other evidence too. The evidence is obtained more quickly, and at lower direct cost, compared to other methods of investigation, leading to prompt and efficient resolution of cases. To get this information, the parties who provide it are promised lower fines, shorter sentences, less restrictive orders, or even complete amnesty. Amnesty/leniency programmes have increased significantly the number of detected cartels in many jurisdictions. They seem to have also facilitated the successful prosecution of cartel cases by providing competition agencies with hard evidence of the competition law infringement.
USE OF MARKERS IN LENIENCY PROGRAMMES