AMC will pay for information about price fixing
Antimonopoly Committee promises to exempt from fines companies that voluntarily report their participation in the cartel collusion, and also inform on the others. Experts assert that AMC does not have any more effective methods of struggle, but it can lead to serious abuses.
The state has decided to deal with violations of competition law by denunciations. The AMC prepared the procedure for "Indemnification of companies that voluntarily reported their participation in the cartel conspiracy." It indicates that the committee will not fine companies for participating in an anticompetitive agreement (cartel agreements) if the same voluntarily informs AMC on other participants of the agreement, the details thereof or other important evidence.
The document has passed the registration in the Ministry of Justice and should enter into force in the coming days after the official publication.
The AMC hopes that having received the opportunity to avoid punishment violators of antimonopoly laws will cooperate with the agency more actively.
"Cartel collusions harm the development of business, and many involved companies understand this. But now to inform about the collusion means to pay a large fine in the amount of 1% to 10% of revenue. This hinders even the most conscientious businessmen" - said the first deputy head of the agency Rafael Kuzmin to the "Kommersant-Ukraine" newspaper.
Primarily AMC expects signals from the pharmaceutical market. For over a year the agency inspects the largest manufacturers and distributors of drugs, suspecting them of inflating prices (although most participants say the opposite).
Denunciation of one of the participants is in fact the only chance for AMC to prove conspiracy. "Even if such arrangements between companies are countersigned by any documents, it is virtually impossible to gain access to them" - explains managing partner of the "Antica" law firm Oleksiy Kot.
In practice, the application of committee's new conditions for cooperation with violators may lead to abuses - for example, disclosure of the confidentiality of the company that revealed the information.
AMC promise that only the state commissioner Mykola Barash will be communicating with informants. In the distributed press release the committee indicated his mobile phone number and email address.
But in this case the state commissioner remains essentially uncontrolled and may conceal important information for investigations, noted Arzinger.
Companies can also use the new procedure to deal with competitors: accusation actually becomes a pretext for AMC to launch an investigation against certain market participants, which automatically harms their reputation and complicates their work. And the document does not provide for any liability for providing false information about the collusion. Moreover, most of the AMC's decisions are appealed by businesses in the courts, and it is unclear whether denunciations will be accepted as evidence.
It is worth noting that the release of the informant from liability for anticompetitive conduct is a widely used practice in the EU and USA. For example, in 2010 the European Commission fined for cartel collusion five largest world producers of LCD-monitors in the amount of around 649 million euros. Then the South Korean Samsung Electronics, which reported the collusion to the European Commission, escaped the fine. In the same year, 11 airlines including British Airways, Air France-KLM were fined $ 1.1 billion. Lufthansa escaped the responsibility.
21 April 2013 12:27
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