In July the Wall Street Journal had a short debate whether the fine by the European Commission on Intel has violated its (?) human rights. See: Has the EU Violated Intel’s Human Rights?; Intel Cites Human Rights In EU Fight On Antitrust; Do Companies Have Human Rights?) The articles inspired also many comments on the newspaper’s page and also on other sites. See for example: LANDE, R. H. (2009) Quick – Somebody Call Amnesty International! Intel Says EU Antitrust Fine Violated Human Rights. SSRN eLibrary.
In its application to the CFI (Case T-286/09), Intel argued that
“all or part of the Decision should be annulled on the basis that the Commission infringed essential procedural requirements during the administrative procedure, which materially infringed Intel’s rights of defence. In particular, the Commission failed:
- to grant Intel an oral hearing in relation to the Supplementary Statement of Objections and Letter of Facts, even though they raised entirely new allegations and referred to new evidence which feature prominently in the contested decision;
- to procure certain internal documents from the competitor for the case file, when requested to do so by the applicant notwithstanding that, in the applicant’s opinion, the documents:
(i) were directly relevant to the Commission’s allegations against Intel,
(ii) were potentially exculpatory of Intel and
(iii) had been identified by Intel with precision;
to make a proper note of its meeting with a key witness from one of Intel’s customers, who was highly likely to have given exculpatory evidence.”
Today the European Commission published its decision. 518 pages long. On page 515, the decision sais: “Intel has submitted that its annual turnover in the business year ending 29 December 2008 was EUR 25 555 million (USD 37 586 million). The final amount of the fine to be imposed on Intel should therefore be EUR 1 060 000 000.” (paras. 1082 and 1083). This means that the fine was about 4,15% of the pervious year’s turnover.
In the application before the CFI Intel argues that: “… the fine of EUR 1 060 000 000 (the largest ever fine imposed upon a single firm by the Commission) is manifestly disproportionate given that the Commission fails to establish any consumer harm or foreclosure of the competitors.”