WilmerHale's Antitrust and Competition Practice received two awards—Behavioural Matter of the Year (Agency) – Europe and Matter of the Year—at Global Competition Review's (GCR) 6th Annual Awards Ceremony on April 5 in Washington DC.
The Behavioural Matter of the Year award recognizes the firm's work on behalf of a major financial institution in a credit default swap investigation that ended in a rare retraction by the European Commission in December 2015. The Commission found no evidence that 16 investment banks colluded to stop rivals from entering the credit default swaps market, more than four years after beginning its investigation and two years after it issued formal charges to the parties and held a weeklong oral hearing (resulting in the reopening of the investigation). The WilmerHale team that vigorously defended this client throughout the proceedings included Partners Christian Duvernoy and Frédéric Louis; Special Counsel Peter Gey; and Senior Associates Philippe Claessens, Tomasz Koziel and Christian Schwedler.
The Matter of the Year award recognizes the firm's work on behalf of client Lufthansa in obtaining an annulment of €790 million in fines against 11 air carriers for price fixing in the air cargo market. In December 2015, the General Court of the European Union annulled the European Commission's decision (WilmerHale had already obtained full immunity from fines for Lufthansa in the administrative procedure) because of discrepancies in the Commission's original decision, which had imposed the penalties in 2010 on carriers accused of operating a cartel to fix fuel surcharges and security fees for cargo transported using their airplanes. The WilmerHale team was led by Mr. Louis and former Partner Sven Voelcker.
In related Lufthansa work, the firm continues to play an integral role in the largest follow-on damages claim ever brought in Germany, representing Lufthansa Cargo AG in its defense—along with others—against a €3 billion damages claim (JUVE named this the second most important litigation matter of 2015). The WilmerHale team—which includes Partner Hans-Georg Kamann, Mr. Gey, and Senior Associates Tobias Henn and Christian Schwedler—has also taken a central role in coordinating the defense among the various defendants. Parallel litigation in the UK is being led by Partner Duncan Speller and Special Counsel Cormac O'Daly.
GCR asks readers to select the winners of its annual awards survey by submitting their views on the matters, teams and individuals that have shaped the antitrust scene over the past year. The GCR awards aim to recognize the achievements of teams and individuals from private practice firms, corporate legal departments, economic consultancies, academic organizations and competition authorities.