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EU Has Lost 3 Top Antitrust Investigators To Law Firms

 |  February 22, 2022

According to a report from POLITICO, The European Commission is starting the next round of its intensifying face-off with Big Tech with a handicap.

Three top competition officials, who helped lead high-profile probes into Google, Amazon, Apple and Facebook, have over the past year left to join law firms that act for the tech giants.

The timing could hardly be worse, as the regulator is about to get broad new powers and responsibilities to ramp up the crackdown on anticompetitive behavior by online platforms.

Vestager has three ongoing antitrust cases into Apple, two into Amazon, one into Facebook and one into Google. That number is likely to increase drastically when the Digital Markets Act (DMA) enters into force. The DMA, which will impose strict limits on the behavior of “gatekeeper” platforms, is in the final stages of negotiations.
Related: The EU’s Proposal for a Digital Markets Act – an Ex Ante Landmark

But Brussels can no longer count on the 80 years of combined experience of Carles Esteva Mosso, Cecilio Madero Villarejo and Nicholas Banasevic. The three heavyweights have been key to the EU competition regime for the past two decades, reported POLITICO.Madero and Banasevic teamed up in the late 1990s on the landmark Microsoft case and later formed the driving force in three Google cases that ended with over €8 billion in fines for the search giant.

Esteva Mosso led the Commission’s competition review of mergers and acquisitions between 2014 and 2019, including Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp in 2014 and Microsoft’s purchase of LinkedIn in 2016.

While the cases they worked on are criticized for not having sufficiently restrained Big Tech’s dominance, they have first-hand experience in confronting these firms and the tactics of their lawyers.

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