Assimakis Komninos | White & Case LLP International Law Firm, Global Law Practice
Assimakis Komninos
 Assimakis Komninos

Assimakis Komninos

Partner, Brussels

“A foremost authority on Greek competition law, Assimakis Komninos is also strongly recommended for his EU expertise”. “According to clients, ‘his biggest strength is that he combines a theoretical approach with practical experience.’”

Who's Who Legal: Competition 2016, Chambers Global 2016

Overview

Assimakis advises on questions of EU and Greek competition law, EU business regulation, international arbitration, litigation and private international law. He has argued both of the only two competition preliminary reference cases to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) from Greece.

His practice focuses on complex cases of abuse of dominance, restrictive agreements and merger notifications, and he represents clients before the European Commission, national competition authorities, national courts and international arbitration tribunals.

Clients look to Assimakis for his proven track record and his ability to combine quietly resolving the most sensitive and complex investigations with aggressively litigating to achieve the necessary results. Chambers Global 2014 notes that he has "extensive experience and a deep understanding of competition law and economics."

Assimakis has acted before the ECJ in Syfait v. GlaxoSmithKline and Lélos v. GlaxoSmithKline (parallel trade of pharmaceuticals - abuse of dominance), and in GlaxoSmithKline Services v. Commission (parallel trade of pharmaceuticals - Article 101). He was also involved before the EU General Court in Microsoft v. Commission (compulsory licensing of interoperability information), GlaxoSmithKline Services v. Commission (parallel trade of pharmaceuticals - application of Article 101), Chalkor Metal Works v. Commission (copper plumbing tubes) and Public Power Corporation v. Commission (Greek lignites). He also successfully represented Aegean Airlines in Aegean/Olympic II, which resulted in the European Commission clearing the deal in a Phase II proceeding. This was the first time that the Commission cleared a merger after it had previously prohibited it.

Assimakis has represented clients with excellent results in proceedings before the Albanian, Cypriot, French, Greek, Kosovo and Romanian competition authorities and Belgian, Bulgarian, Cypriot, French, Greek, Latvian and Spanish courts. He has particular experience in arbitration cases involving EU and national competition issues, and in private antitrust litigation cases in national courts. Notable clients include GlaxoSmithKline, Nestlé/Nespresso, SOCAR, OTE/Cosmote and TeliaSonera.

Assimakis rejoined White & Case in September 2011, after serving for two years as a Commissioner and Member of the Board of the Hellenic Competition Commission (HCC).

Assimakis is currently a visiting fellow of the Centre for Law and Governance in Europe at University College London (UCL) and a senior associate fellow of the Institute for European Studies (IES) at the Vrije Universiteit Brussels (VUB). He is a prolific writer on legal matters and often gives speeches and seminars on EU competition law, arbitration and Greek law, and is a non-governmental advisor to the International Competition Network (ICN).

Bars and Courts

  • Brussels Bar (E list)
  • Athens Bar (Greek Supreme Court)

Education

  • PhD, European University Institute, Italy
  • LLM, New York University School of Law, USA
  • LLM, Trinity College, University of Cambridge, UK
  • LLB, University of Athens, Greece

Languages

  • English
  • French
  • German
  • Greek
  • Italian

Experience

Merger clearance in Aegean/Olympic II

In a first for EU merger control, Assimakis achieved a significant success for Aegean Airlines before the European Commission, which cleared the Greek carrier's proposed acquisition of its rival Olympic Air. This was the second time the two companies had tried to merge, following Olympic/Aegean I, when the Commission prohibited the transaction. Assimakis, who co-led the team which handled the transaction, demonstrated his skill in dealing with one of the most challenging merger cases.

Mobile telephony – EU Phase II merger

Assimakis represented an international company active in mobile telephony in an EU merger Phase II filing.

Gas – EU Phase II merger

Assimakis advises a major energy company on questions of EU unbundling legislation and on EU merger rules in a Phase II case.

Abuse of dominance proceedings - Europe

Assimakis represented a major international company active in the coffee market in abuse of dominance proceedings, as well as in litigation in national courts and competition authorities.

Successful appeal against an EU State aid decision

Assimakis successfully represented a number of Greek casinos before the EU General Court, in an appeal against a European Commission State aid decision.

Abuse of dominance (margin squeeze) proceeding - Greece

Assimakis represents a major Greek mobile telephony company in an abuse of dominance (margin squeeze) proceeding before the Hellenic Telecommunications and Post Commission (EETT).

Investigations in the soft drinks and milk markets – Greece, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Romania

Assimakis represented a major company active in the soft drinks and milk markets before the Greek, Bulgarian, Cypriot and Romanian authorities and courts.

Eurozone crisis

Assimakis has advised sovereign and corporate clients on the Eurozone crisis and on Euro-exit risks.

EU competition law and arbitration

Assimakis has worked in a number of major ICC arbitration cases involving EU competition law, notably in paramedical products, liquefied natural gas and digital TV services.

Information exchange case - Greece

Assimakis successfully represented an industry association in an information exchange investigation before the HCC, which was closed with a commitments decision.

Abuse of dominance proceeding - Kosovo

Assimakis successfully represented a company active in the cement industry before the Kosovo competition authority, in the first ever abuse of dominance proceeding. The company was acquitted.

Cartel proceeding - Albania

Assimakis successfully represented a company active in the cement industry before the Albanian competition authority. Full acquittal was attained.

EU agricultural policy

Assimakis advised a non EU government on EU agricultural policy issues, in particular on imports of butter to the EU.

EU competition compliance

Assimakis has conducted a number of EU competition compliance audits for major companies in the construction materials, cosmetics and food and drinks markets.

Excessive and unfair pricing practices by airports – UK, Cyprus

Assimakis has advised companies active in car rental services in cases involving airports' excessive pricing practices. He successfully represented a major car rental operator in a complaint against an airport before the Cypriot Competition Commission.

Advising on EU gambling rules – complaints to the European Commission

Assimakis has represented companies in complaints before the European Commission against EU Member States on State aid or freedom of establishment grounds.

Speaking Engagements

Moderator of the Cartel Working Group Break-out Session on "Public and Private Enforcement", 28 April 2016: 2016 ICN Annual Conference,
Singapore

"Are Bilateral Investment Treaties on a Collision Course with EU Law?", 19 February 2016: Conference on EU Law and Arbitration jointly organized by the Belgian Chapter of Club Español del Arbitraje (CEA), the ICC, the Belgian Centre for Arbitration and Mediation (CEPANI) and the German Institution of Arbitration (DIS),
Brussels

"Antitrust Follow-on Damages Claims – Is there a True Potential for Arbitration?", 3 June 2015: 2nd Annual Global Arbitration review (GAR) Live event,
Frankfurt

"Stand-alone Cases", 25 March 2015: 9th Global Competition Law Centre (GCLC) Annual Conference on 'Antitrust Damages in EU Law and Policy',
Brussels

"Competition Law Limitations in the Cement Sector", 23 October 2014: Building Materials and Merchants Conference, organized by Redburn Access,
London

"Recent Cases and On-going Investigations", 11 September 2014: QED 2014 EU Competition Law Summit,
Brussels

"Collective redress, Consensual Settlements, and other Incentive Devices", 7 November 2013: European Competition Day Conference,
Brussels
, 9th Global Competition Law Centre (GCLC) Annual Conference on Antitrust Damages in EU Law and Policy

"Restrictions of Competition by Object: The Changing Landscape", 25 October 2013: Academy of European Law (ERA),
Brussels
, (panel moderator)

"Control of Awards by Courts on Competition Law Grounds", 7 October 2013: : Session on 'Abuse and Use of Antitrust Issues in Arbitration,' 2013 Annual Conference of the International Bar Association (IBA),
Boston

"Independence of Competition Authorities in Law and in Practice", 3 October 2013: European Competition Day Conference, organized by the Lithuanian Competition Council in the context of the 2013 Lithuanian Presidency of the European Union,
Vilnius

"After-markets and Article 102 TFEU", 20 February 2012: Conference of the Institute of Studies in Competition Law and Policy (IMEDIPA) on Specific Cases of Abuse of Dominant Position,
Athens

"Arbitrating Antitrust Law Controversies in the Energy Sector", 25 January 2012: C5 Conference on Antitrust and Regulatory Risks in the Energy Sector,
Munich

"Greek Crisis and Economic Governance of the European Union", 14 October 2011: European University Institute (EUI) Alumni Conference on Europe's Futures, Florence

"The Impact of Private Enforcement on Leniency and on Cartel Investigations", 12 October 2011: speaker in the plenary session, ICN Cartel Workshop 2011, Bruges

Publications

  • Arbitration and Damages Claims Based on Competition Law Infringements, Liber Amicorum Ian S. Forrester QC LLD, A Scot without Borders, Volume II, Sir David Edward, Jacquelyn MacLennan & Assimakis Komninos (Eds.), Concurrences Review, New York, pp. 201-217, 2015
  • Efficiency Defences in Abuse of Dominance Cases: Introduction, Concurrences, 2014(2), art. n° 65382
  • The 'As Efficient Competitor Test' after Post Danmark: Emphasis on Margin Squeeze, Concurrences, 2013(3), pp. 24–27, (co-author with Stratigoula Sakellariou)
  • Abuse of a Dominant Position, Competition Law, Dimitris N. Tzouganatos (Ed.), Nomiki Vivliothiki, Athens, pp. 455–542, 2013, (co-author with Ioannis Lianos) (in Greek)
  • Arbitration and EU Competition Law, International Antitrust Litigation, Conflict of Laws and Coordination, Jürgen Basedow, Stéphanie Francq & Laurence Idot (Eds.), Hart Publishing, Oxford/Portland, pp. 191–222, 2011
  • Arbitration and EU Competition Law in the Post-Modernisation Era, EU and US Antitrust Arbitration, Gordon Blanke & Phillip Landolt (Eds.), Kluwer Law International, Alphen aan den Rijn, pp. 433–487, 2011
  • IP Rights in the EU, Microsoft Saga, Competition Law and the Enforcement of Article 102, Federico Etro & Ioannis Kokkoris (Eds.), Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp. 83–98, (co-author with Katarzyna Czapracka)
  • EC Competition Law and Parallel Trade in Pharmaceutical Products, The Reform of EC Competition Law, New Challenges, Kokkoris & Lianos (Eds.), Kluwer Law International, Alphen aan den Rijn, pp. 377–408, 2010, (co-author with Anthony Dawes)
  • EC Private Antitrust Enforcement, Decentralised Application of EC Competition Law by National Courts, Hart Publishing, Oxford/Portland, 2008
  • EC Competition Law: A Critical Assessment, Hart Publishing, Oxford/Portland (Associate Editor; General Editors Giuliano Amato & Claus-Dieter Ehlermann), 2007

Awards & Recognition

Leading lawyer: Competition/European Law – Belgium, and Corporate/ Commercial – Greece, Chambers Global 2015 and 2016

Recommended for Competition: EU and Global, Legal 500, 2015 and 2016

GCR International Who's Who of Competition Lawyers for 2014, 2015 and 2016

Who's Who Legal: Life Sciences 2015 and 2016

Winner of the Client Choice Award 2015 for the Competition & Antitrust category for European Union