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CARTELS: AMO initiated the administrative proceedings in the matter of suspicion of cartel of construction companies in public tenders

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On November 20, 2014 the Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic, Division of Cartels initiated ex officio the administrative proceedings against the undertakings acting in the area of construction works in the territory of the Slovak Republic in the matter of possible agreement restricting competition.

The Office has a reasonable suspicious that the undertakings concerned have coordinated their behaviour when bidding in public tenders for modernisation and completion of the hotel complex in the total amount up to EUR 2 million. These projects were implemented with the support of EU funds. Such conduct of undertakings might be contrary to the Act No. 136/2001 Coll. on Protection of Competition prohibiting the agreements between competitors which restrict competition.

The Office acquired documents and information based on which it concluded that the undertakings might have coordinated their conduct in bidding in public tenders.

Since these agreements represent horizontal agreements between direct competitors, which are considered as hard-core cartels and their participants may be fined up to 10 % of their turnover for the preceding 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 conduct an inspection. Detailed conditions of non-imposing or reducing a fine are summarized in the document “Leniency programme”.

The fact that the Office initiated the administrative proceedings does not imply that the entities concerned have infringed the competition rules, nor does it prejudge the conclusions which the Office may reach in its decision.