Support the ComCo in pursuing harmful cartels!
The Competition Commission (ComCo) has the task of protecting competition, i.e. allowing supply and demand to take their course. Competition is damaged by unlawful cartels, in particular by ‘hardcore cartels’, which involve agreements on prices, quantities and/or territories. These cartels damage our national economy and ensure that consumers pay higher prices.
Exposing cartels is a difficult task, as nowadays these agreements are made in secret and the companies involved make every effort to keep them secret. If you have inside information that points to an unlawful cartel, you can make a decisive contribution to uncovering these violations of competition law and bringing the perpetrators to justice! Your information can lead to the end of the cartel and prevent further damage to the economy.
What makes me a whistleblower?
A whistleblower is a person who alerts the authorities to behaviour that breaks the rules, i.e. any irregularities, unlawful acts or general dangers that come to their attention. In relation to the law on cartels, it is a person who reports suspected violations of the Cartel Act. Normally a whistleblower has insider knowledge, for example as a current or former employee of one of the companies involved. Commonly the whistleblower has an interest in ensuring that the information they give to the authorities is treated as confidential, as they are not acting on behalf of any of the companies involved in the suspected cartel.
When can I file a voluntary report?
If, however, you have been requested by one of the companies involved to report its involvement in a potential cartel, it is possible to make a voluntary report and benefit from the ‘leniency programme’. If a company reports its own conduct voluntarily, this can lead to a reduced fine, or can even result in the fine being waived altogether. You will find further information on this in the Explanatory Note and Form relating to the Leniency Programme (Voluntary Report).
When do I use the contact form?
If you do not have inside information, but as a consumer and citizen suspect a violation of the cartel rules, you should use our contact form to file a report. The Secretariat will pass your report on to the specialist responsible for dealing with matter concerned.
What kinds of evidence and information are useful to ComCo?
If ComCo is to take action, it must have specific evidence, i.e. have a reasonable suspicion that a cartel could exist. Mere speculation or vague indications, for example in the form of rumours, are not sufficient. The market and companies involved must be identified in every case. It is useful to have as much information as possible on the type of cartel and its mode of operation (e.g. if you know that prices are agreed in advance and can also explain when and how this happens). It is possible to pass on this information to ComCo anonymously. However, it helps our investigations if we can have at least some contact with you and can ask you questions. Your information will be at its most credible if you disclose your identity to us and explain how you obtained the information. Your identity will be treated with the highest confidentiality (see below).
Procedure and contact
The investigations are carried out by the Secretariat of the Competition Commission (Secretariat). As a whistleblower, you can use any channel of communication. If you are contacting us by telephone, ask for the head of the Competence Centre for Investigations, Simon Bangerter, or his deputy, Patrick Kaeser. You can also contact us by using the following email address: whistleblowing[at]weko.admin.ch. Even within ComCo, your information will be treated with the highest confidentiality. It goes without saying that you can also use the general contact form. Whistleblowers do not have to pay any fees.
Anonymity and confidentiality
If you contact us anonymously (e.g. by using an anonymous email account), we will not take any steps to establish your identity. The competition authorities do not have the technical capability to trace your communications and do not have the legal powers to force you to disclose your identity. If you mistakenly provide us with information that permits your identification, we will delete this information.
If you reveal your identity, we will not disclose it outside our organisation. We are bound on such matters by official secrecy, and any violation of official secrecy on our part will lead to our prosecution. If we use information that you pass on to us, we will discuss with you how this information should be presented so that no conclusions can be drawn as to your identity (e.g. anonymity of documents, paraphrasing circumstances). The Federal Criminal Court has expressly approved to this type of anonymity in a judgment.
Your identity will also be treated with the utmost confidentiality within our organisation; it will only be known to a small number of people and will not be disclosed in the case files.