Brazil’s antitrust authority (Cade), continues to take measures amidst the Covid-19 crisis in order to remain operational while also ensuring the safety of staff and members of the antitrust community. Currently, the staff is mostly working remotely. Face-to-face meetings were replaced by videoconferencing and conference calls. Thus far, Cade’s Judgment Sessions have been maintained, but Commissioners are working toward conducting them remotely as well. The change will likely become effective in early April.
In the merger control front, Cade remains committed to keeping things on track and has announced that all deadlines remain unchanged. However, given the gravity of the Covid-19 outbreak in Brazil, delays may start happening, especially in cases where Cade depends on the collection of information from market participants. In such cases, CADE may face difficulties in establishing contact with the sources of such information. Moreover, these cases will likely be granted with deadline extensions when requested.
On the other hand, changes concerning investigations have taken effect. Following guidance from the Federal Government, Cade issued a note on March 25 declaring the suspension of all deadlines running against defendants in (i) investigations of anticompetitive conduct, (ii) gun-jumping investigations, and (iii) other administrative proceedings for the imposition of procedural penalties. Finally, Cade stressed in the same note that preliminary conduct investigations, proceedings relating to leniency or settlement agreements, and consultation proceedings will continue to run as before.
We are monitoring the developments concerning the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on the enforcement of Brazil’s antitrust law and we will update our clients and partners constantly.