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CARTELS: Fine for construction companies for cartel in public procurement

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On 28 July 2014 the Division of Cartels issued decision imposing a fine totaling 613 644 EUR on four undertakings acting in the market of construction works in the Slovak Republic for concluding cartel agreement showing signs of collusive behaviour resulting in coordination of undertakings´ behaviour in public procurement. The subject of the contract concerned the reconstruction of the former medical facility that currently provides social services. The project was financed by the European Regional Development Fund, state budget of the SR and Environmental Fund in the final value of more than EUR 2 million. 

The Antimonopoly Office acquired information on alleged anticompetitive conduct from another state authority.

In order to confirm its suspicion and ensure further evidence, the Office conducted unannounced inspection in the business premises of various undertakings prior to administrative proceedings. During the inspection the Office did not obtain direct evidence on conclusion of the cartel agreement but it demonstrated the existence of anticompetitive agreement based on other evidence and a number of coinciding factors, which together constitute proof of the mutual coordination of bidders and violation of competition rules. The fact that the bids were not prepared independently could not be otherwise objectively and logically explained.

Decision of the Antimonopoly Office is not valid.

Since it is a first-instance decision which could be appealed by the party to the proceedings, at this stage the Office does not publish any other details on this decision.