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The Antimonopoly Office opened the administrative proceedings for suspicion of a cartel agreement in vehicles distribution and servicing

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On November 21, 2014 the Antimonopoly Office of the SR, Division of Cartels opened ex officio the administrative proceedings against 10 undertakings acting in the area of distribution and sale of passenger and commercial vehicles and provision of guarantee and after-sales service/repair and maintenance of vehicles in the matter of possible agreements restricting competition.

Based on the acquired documents and materials the Office concluded that the undertakings might have concluded the agreement in the form of fixing prices of goods or other trade conditions, market allocation or allocation of supply resources, coordination of procedure in bidding in public procurements or public tenders or exchanging sensitive information. Public procurements/public tenders dealt with supply of passenger or commercial vehicles, namely relating to more contractors. Such conduct of undertaking might be contradictory both to the Act No. 136/2001 Coll. on Protection of Competition and to Article 101 of Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union prohibiting agreements between competitors, which restrict competition.

Undertakings being parties to horizontal agreements between direct competitors which are considered as hard-core cartels may be imposed a fine of up to 10% of their turnover for the preceding closed accounting period.

The Office also states that the competition law provides for using the instrument of so called leniency programme, according to which the party to the cartel agreement may avoid a fine (if it is first to provide the Office with the decisive evidence on existence of such agreement in time when the Office does not have any evidence on cartel agreement or submits information and evidence decisive for inspection) or the fine may be reduced by up to 50%. Detailed conditions of immunity from fine or its reduction are summarized in document Program zhovievavosti (tzv. leniency program).

The fact that the Office opened the administrative proceedings does not imply that the entities concerned have infringed the competition rules, nor does it prejudge the conclusions of the Office included in the decision.