CARTELS: AMO initiated the administrative proceedings for suspicion of bid-rigging in flood prevention
On August 3, 2015 the Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic, Division of Cartels initiated the administrative proceedings in the matter of possible agreement restricting competition concluded between the undertakings relating to contract on construction works in the field of flood and drought prevention (flood control structures).
Based on evidence collected the Office entered into a reasonable suspicion that two undertakings coordinated their bidding procedure in public procurement announced by water management contracting authority. Contract dealt with the construction works in the total presumed value of EUR 3 892 656,73. This project should has been realized in East Slovakia and is co-financed by the EEA financial mechanism and Norwegian Financial Mechanism.
Since this agreement represent horizontal agreement between direct competitors, which is considered as the most serious infringement of competition rules, it means hard-core cartel, cartel participants may be fined up to 10 % of their turnover for the preceding closed accounting period.
The Office also states that 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 or he may reach its reducing up to 50%. Detailed conditions of non-imposing or reducing a fine are summarized in the document “Leniency program” (Program zhovievavosti (tzv. leniency program).
The fact that the Office initiated the administrative proceedings does not imply that the entity concerned has infringed the competition rules, nor does it prejudge the conclusions which the Office may reach in its decision.