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CARTELS: AMO initiated the administrative proceedings on suspicion of a collusion in public procurement for the supply of construction works

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On July 23, 2015 the Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic, Division of Cartels, based on its own initiative, initiated the administrative proceedings in the matter of possible agreement restricting competition concluded between the undertakings relating to contract on construction works.

Based on the obtained evidence the Office has acquired a reasonable suspicion that three undertakings coordinated their bidding procedure in the public procurement announced by the school management. Contract dealt with the construction works aimed at improvement of the quality of educational process through increase of material and technical level of the school in the total estimated value of EUR 426 843,97 without VAT. This project was implemented in Prešov region within the Regional Operational Program Priority 1-Infrastructure of education and co-financed by the Regional Development European Fund and state budget.

Since such agreements represent horizontal agreement between direct competitors, which is considered the most serious infringement of competition rules, so called hard-core cartel, the 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 obtain a reduction of 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.