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Supreme Court upheld AMO´s decision on cartel agreement in banking sector

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On 23 November 2017 the Supreme Court of the Slovak Republic (hereafter "the Supreme Court") declared the judgment in the matter of Československá obchodná banka, a.s., (hereafter "ČSOB") by which it dismissed the action against the decision of the Council of the Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic (hereafter "the Council of the Office") connected with the first-instance decision of the Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic (hereafter "the Office"). Thus the Supreme Court has definitively confirmed the Office's decision on an agreement restricting competition in banking sector.
Banks committed anti-competitive conduct by coordinating their procedure for terminating contracts for current accounts to the company AKCENTA CZ and at the same time they made agreement that they will not conclude new contracts with the company. Their aim was to exclude the competing company AKCENTA CZ from the market and to acquire its clients, respectively to maintain their existing clients.
The Office´s decision of 25 October 2013, by which it imposed a fine in the amount of EUR 3 183 427 on ČSOB for participating in the cartel agreement on the market for non-cash foreign exchange operations, was confirmed by the Council of the Office´s decision of 11 April 2014, when it dismissed ČSOB's appeal. The fine in the amount of EUR 3 183 427 imposed by the Office on ČSOB was confirmed also by the Supreme Court, thereby the judgment of the Regional Court in Bratislava reducing the amount of the fine imposed by the Office to EUR 1 500 000 was amended.
In this decision the Office dealt only with ČSOB's participation in the cartel agreement, because final decision on other two cartel participants - Slovenská sporiteľňa, a.s., and Všeobecná úverová banka, a.s., had already been issued by the Supreme Court. In 2013 the Supreme Court dismissed the actions submitted by the two banks, thus it confirmed the original decision issued by the Office in 2009.