On January 10, 2020, the Council of State rejected the appeals brought against two judgments issued by the TAR Lazio in 2016, which upheld an ICA decision finding an anticompetitive bid rigging agreement in the railway transportation sector.[1] In particular, in 2015 the ICA found that 12 companies active in the railway industry had secretly colluded with a view systematically to allocating public procurement contracts covering the whole national territory, as well as by agreeing on their respective bids.[2]

Following unsuccessful applications to the TAR Lazio for annulment of the ICA decision,[3] the addressee companies appealed to the Council of State, which however fully upheld the TAR Lazio’s rulings. In particular, by referring to its previous decisions in other appeals on the same case,[4] the Council of State underlined that in the Italian legal system there is a principle of mutual autonomy between criminal and administrative proceedings, whereby the suspension of administrative proceedings can take place only where the decision in the administrative procedure is dependent on the criminal procedure (and, in any event, this rule applies only to judicial proceedings). As a consequence, the ICA was not required to stay its investigation until the end of the criminal proceedings against the parties. Moreover, the Council of State reiterated the principle by which evidence (e.g., wiretapping records) that has been lawfully acquired in the context of a criminal investigation pursuant to the rules concerning the gathering of evidence may be used by the ICA together with other elements.

[1]              Council of State, Judgments Nos. 246 and 258/2020.

[2]              ICA Decision of May 27, 2015, No. 25488, Case I759 – Forniture Trenitalia.

[3]              AR Lazio, Judgments Nos. 2668, 2670, 2671, 2672, 2673, 2674, 3075, 3077 and 3078/2016.

[4]              Council of State, Judgment No. 4211/2018.