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AMO SR initiated proceedings in the matter of possible cartel agreement in the field of distribution of IT technologies

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The Division of Cartels of the Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic (hereinafter “AMO SR”) initiated on May 20, 2013 the proceedings based on its own incentive against five undertakings operating on the market of distribution of IT technologies and services connected with this distribution in the Slovak Republic in the matter of alleged agreement restricting competition.

AMO SR on the basis of gathered evidence came to suspicion, that five distributors of IT technologies agreed on launching handling charge, namely in the same height and in almost the same time. This conduct can be contrary to § 4 of Act № 136/2001 Coll. on Protection of Competition in valid wording which prohibits agreements restricting competition. To examine its suspicion and ensured further data, the Office made before the initiating of proceedings dawn raids in business premises of several undertakings in towns of Bratislava, Košice and Žilina. During dawn raids the Office obtained various data, for example in the form of e-mail communication.

Initiating of proceedings does not prejudge the outcome of procedure.

Price fixing agreements, i. e. cartel agreements, belong to the most serious violations of competition rules, from which benefit exclusively cartelists while prices for consumers increase. In the case of proving infringement the Office can impose the fine up to 10 % of turnover attained in last closed financial period. However this does not exclude the chance for participant of agreement restricting competition to achieve full or partial immunity from imposing the fine, if the participant fulfills conditions set by the Act (Leniency program).

Participant in cartel can avoid the fine, if on its own initiative and as the first provides to the Office decisive evidence on existence of such agreement or provides information and evidence being decisive to perform inspection. In the case, the participant of cartel provides significant evidence, thus such, which itself cannot be sufficient for proving the agreement restriction competition, but together with information, the Office disposes, it enables to prove the agreement, the Office can reduce the fine up to 50 % of the sanction, which would be otherwise imposed. Detailed conditions of non-imposing fine can be found in document “Leniency program”  which regulates besides others details on the form of submission, as well as pre chance of „booking” of turn, in the case, the undertaking needs some time for collecting this evidence.