Competition office levies record fines
21. 3. 2016 | Source: BusinessInfo.cz
The Office for the Protection of Competition [ÚOHS] last year imposed fines totalling CZK 2.083bn as a consequence of first-instance economic competition rulings. The sanctions amounted to the heaviest in its history. They were 10 times higher than what was levied in 2014.
However, the largest proportion of the fines, totalling more than two billion crowns, was served up against a single cartel of construction companies. The cartel is one of the biggest cases dealt with by the ÚOHS during its 25 years of existence. In the second instance, the penalty was lowered by ÚOHS chair Petr Rafaj to CZK 1.66bn. Skanska, Strabag, Eurovia, Swietelsky, M-Silnice, Berger Bohemia and Lesostavby Třeboň were cartel members.
Also fined last year was household appliances manufacturer Gorenje. It had to pay nearly CZK 14m. The anti- monopoly office lowered its penalty by around a fifth after taking into account that the firm had admitted its wrongdoing. More than CZK 2m was paid as a penalty by the Chaps company, which on a long-term commission from the transport ministry manages the nationwide public transport timetable information system. It abused its dominant market position from 2008 to 2015, according to the ÚOHS.
The ÚOHS is currently dealing with more than 10 administrative proceedings. Last year alone it mounted 17 investigative raids at company headquarters.
Originally published in E15 weekly, economic and business newsmagazine. Author: Štěpán Bruner