In a decision of April 4, 2014 (the “Decision”), the British Columbia Court of Appeal (“BCCA”) granted the extradition of an individual to the United States to face bid-rigging, fraud, conspiracy and kick-back charges (United States v Bennett, 2014 BCCA 145). The Decision marks the first extradition of an individual from Canada to the United States in connection with antitrust charges. The United States alleged that the defendant was involved in the manipulation of bid prices and an agreement to pay kick-backs to ensure that his company would receive a subcontract from a company that, in turn, had been contracted by the US Environmental Protection Agency and the US Army Corps of Engineers to conduct soil remediation in New Jersey. The Decision affirms an earlier decision of the British Columbia Supreme Court (“BCSC”), which in 2012 held that there was admissible evidence that would justify the defendant’s committal for trial in Canada. The BCSC subsequently ordered the defendant surrendered to the United States on charges equivalent to the Canadian offences of fraud and conspiracy to commit fraud. While the Decision is unprecedented in ordering a Canada-US extradition on antitrust charges, it follows closely on a similar decision from Germany earlier the same month, suggesting that extraditions may become an increasingly important form of inter-jurisdictional cooperation in the enforcement of competition laws. Canadian authorities are also increasingly approaching enforcement with an international eye through the extraterritorial application of competition law. For example, recent updates to the Competition Bureau’s policies on immunity and leniency, as well as a trilogy of decisions of the Supreme Court of Canada, have paved the way for indirect purchaser class actions and the exercise of jurisdiction by Canadian courts over foreign defendants in respect of alleged anti-competitive conduct.
Eva Warden is an associate and member of the Global Antitrust & Competition and International Commercial practice groups in Baker & McKenzie's Toronto office. She has also worked at the Firm's London office with the EU, Competition & Trade Practice Group. Ms. Warden practices regulatory compliance and advises in the areas of competition and antitrust law, privacy and data protection, and IT and telecommunications, for clients carrying on business within Canada and on a multijurisdictional basis.