The Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic initiated proceedings in the matter of a possible cartel agreement in the field of geodesy and cartography
On December 16, 2013 The Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic, The Division of Cartels, based on its own initiative, initiated proceedings against two undertakings, operating in the field of geodesy and cartography (mapping the earth's surface and providing products and services related thereto) in the Slovak Republic, with regard to possible agreement restricting competition.
Prior to proceedings, the Office carried out inspections of undertakings concerned. Based on the evidence gathered, the Office has justified suspicion that these two undertakings have agreed in terms of provision of goods and services on a Slovak market allocation, coordinated their behavior in public procurement and public tender, directly or indirectly fixed prices of goods and services provided or other trading conditions and agreed on the fact that they are going to limit or control production, sales, technical development or investment with the aim to control their production activities.
Such conduct may constitute an infringement of the Article 4 of the Act No. 136/2001 Coll. on Protection of Competition as amended, and Art. 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, both prohibiting agreements restricting competition.
Cartels in public procurement (so-called "bid rigging ") represent one of the most harmful practices causing harm both to providers and consumers since more public finances are spent and these finances could have been used for other public projects.
Since these agreements represent horizontal agreements between direct competitors, which are considered as hard-core cartels, cartel participants may be fined up to 10 % of their turnover for the preceeding closed accounting period. A cartel participant has an option to fully avoid a fine if he was the first to provide, on its own initiative, decisive evidence to prove a violation of the prohibited agreement or was the first to provide, on its own initiative, information and evidence being decisive to perform an inspection. Detailed conditions of non-imposing or reducing a fine are summarized in the document “Leniency program”
In case it is proved that bidder participated in the collusion in public procurement, such bidder shall not take part in public procurements for three years since a final decision confirming existence of an agreement restricting competition is issued. The prohibition does not apply to those who have qualified for leniency under the leniency program.
Initiation of proceedings neither implies that undertakings are guilty of anti-competitive behavior, nor does it prejudge the outcome of the investigation itself.