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Advising British American Tobacco/ETI before the European Court of Justice


12 December 2007

The Rome office of Allen & Overy LLP advised Ente Tabacchi Italiani, part of the British American Tobacco group, in a reference for a preliminary ruling before the European Court of Justice from the Italian Supreme Administrative Court.  

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) was considering the extent to which the economic successor of a public entity (still in existence), which committed breaches of competition law, would be liable for those infringements. Before being acquired by British American Tobacco (BAT) in 2003, Ente Tabacchi Italiani (ETI) was the economic successor of AAMS, the public body with responsibility for managing the Italian State tobacco monopoly. The Italian Antitrust Authority had found that AAMS participated in a price fixing cartel in the cigarette sector, prior to the transfer of its activities to ETI. The ECJ found that responsibility for breach of the competition rules can be passed in full from one entity to its successor, provided that also the economic successor took part in the infringement and both entities were controlled by the same public authority.

The team was led by partner Silvia D'Alberti, with assistance from senior associate Lucio D'Amario.




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