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Fine in the amount of EUR 1,65 mil. EUR for non-cooperation during the inspection

Updated on:
On April 21, 2015 the Antimonopoly Office of the Slovak Republic, Division of Abuse of a Dominant Position and Vertical Agreements issued a decision imposing a fine in the amount of EUR 1 645 969,20 EUR for the  infringement of the obligation set by article 40 of the Act on Protection of Competition valid until June 30, 2014.

During the inspection in undertaking´s premises in May 2014 related to retail of milk and dairy products in Slovakia the undertaking did not cooperate with the Office in verification of information and documents during the inspection in the form of several obstructions – by giving information on inspection to the third party and by failing to ensure proper and comprehensive blocking of e-mail accounts of selected persons.

The power to inspect is one of the most important investigative rights of the Office enabling it to reveal the infringement of the Act on Protection of Competition. Obstructions aimed at violation of efficiency and procedures of inspection constitute violations of obligations imposed by the law. Undertaking´s obstructions have negative impact on Office´s rights and on proper revealing of an anticompetitive conduct. There is a public interest in protection of competition, thus on the proper investigation and revealing of anticompetitive behaviour of undertakings.

The purpose of the provisions on obligations of the undertaking to cooperate with the Office during the inspection and the corresponding provision on penalties for infringement of these obligations is to ensure the respect for the Office by the investigated entities during the inspection. It is essential for the Office to sanction such misconduct of undertakings; as such conduct threatens the proper exercise of the powers of the Office and reduces the efficiency of inspections, and thus the opportunity to reveal the anticompetitive conduct of undertakings.

Decision of the Antimonopoly Office is not valid.

Since it is a first-instance decision which could be appealed by the undertaking concerned, the Office does not provide any details on this decision.