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ACM to appeal Court’s ruling against use of wiretap data

The District Court of Rotterdam has prohibited the Netherlands Authority for Consumers and Markets (ACM) in two cases from using data obtained through wiretaps, which ACM had been provided by the Dutch Public Prosecution Service (OM). In the Court’s opinion, the authorization that ACM had been given regarding the provision of these data was insufficiently substantiated. As a result, the Court asserted it was unable to verify the assessment behind the authorization. Since the evidence in both cases was based on the wiretap data, both ACM sanction decisions have been overturned.

ACM is challenging both rulings regarding the admissibility of the data, and will be taking the matter to the Dutch Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal (CBb), the highest court in the Netherlands in antitrust matters. Chris Fonteijn, Chairman of the Board of ACM, comments: ‘This is a matter of principle, which may have far-reaching consequences, including for other regulators. As a result of the Court’s interpretation, undertakings that have committed serious violations are thus able to escape without any sanction.’ In a previous interlocutory ruling, the judge held that the wiretap data provided by the OM could be used by ACM.

One of the two cases in question is an anonymized ruling by the District Court of Rotterdam with reference number ECLI:NL:RBROT:CA3079  (in Dutch), and the other is a case concerning maritime waste collection with reference number ECLI:NL:RBROT:2013:5042  (in Dutch).