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Italian Competition Authority Issues Guidelines, Will Consider the Existence of a Compliance Program When Imposing Fines

The Italian Competition Authority has released new guidelines setting forth the criteria it uses to impose fines for violations of Italy’s antitrust laws. Notably, the guidelines list the adoption and enforcement of a compliance program as a potential mitigating factor that can reduce the base fine amount. Merely having such a program on the books does not qualify as mitigating; rather, the enterprise must prove its commitment to compliance. The guidelines provide examples of how this commitment might be demonstrated, such as involving management in the creation and implementation of a compliance program, designating specific employees who are responsible for the program, organizing training activities, providing incentives for adherence to the program (as well as disincentives for failure to do so), and implementing a system of monitoring and auditing. Many of these components are also favored by U.S. antitrust enforcers, as we noted here.