In a preliminary ruling procedure, the Court of Justice of the European Union confirmed that the law of the Member States must make it possible for compensation for damages caused by a cartel to be granted to persons who are not direct participants in the market in which the cartel operates.
The dispute in the main proceedings was brought by the state of Upper Austria against a cartel of elevator manufacturers. Upper Austria provided soft loans to support the construction of apartment buildings.
As a result of the increased elevator prices caused by the cartel, Upper Austria granted a higher volume of loans and the loss it suffered consisted in the opportunity cost of not investing these funds at a higher interest rate. The CJEU concluded that the cartel could also be liable for such damage.
By Lenka Petrakova, Junior Lawyer, JSK