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Court annuls antitrust cartel fine for six building firms

Following an action by six plaintiffs, the Bratislava Regional Court has annulled an October 2006 decision by the Antitrust Office (PMÚ) which had fined six construction companies a record Sk1.349 billion (€44.78 million).

Following an action by six plaintiffs, the Bratislava Regional Court has annulled an October 2006 decision by the Antitrust Office (PMÚ) which had fined six construction companies a record Sk1.349 billion (€44.78 million).

The penalty was for their part in forming a cartel agreement when bidding for a contract to build an eight-kilometre-long section of the D1 highway between Mengusovce and Janovce.

According to the PMÚ, the construction companies Skanska DS, a.s., Inžinierske Stavby, a.s., Strabag, a.s., Doprastav, a.s., Betamont, s.r.o., and Mota Engil coordinated their bids in advance. Bratislava Regional Court spokesman Pavol Adamčiak announced that the court had cancelled the decision based on an appeal by the six and returned the case to the antitrust authority.

The court reasoned that the original decision was factually deficient and insufficiently specified how the law had been violated. The court therefore opined that the fine could not be upheld either.

The verdict has not yet come into force and can be appealed by the PMÚ within 15 days of delivery, in which case the Supreme Court will be asked to rule. SITA

Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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