The Slovak Anti-trust Office (PMÚ) has no evidence confirming that the activities of companies involved in the orders of the Foreign Ministry for audiovisual services during the country’s presidency of the EU Council violated the law on the protection of economic competition. The office thus informed the TASR newswire after it had concluded the investigation on January 10.
“The office has thoroughly studied all relevant documents and information acquired during the investigation,” PMÚ spokesperson Adriana Oľšavská told the newswire. “It has come to the conclusion that there is no evidence proving any violations of the Protection of Economic Competition Act.”
Negative media influence
The PMÚ also pointed to the alleged “negative influence of extensive media coverage regarding hints of potential evidence.” Oľšavská explained that the Office used all investigative means and procedures, through which it could have proven any violation and the agreement of unfair competition was concluded. But “despite this, the high profile the case received before the investigation even started resulted in the limitation, or rather prevention of the usage of all legal investigation instruments, which also impacted the office's chances of proving any potential agreement limiting competition,” she elaborated.
While the PMÚ scrutinised the addition to the motion delivered after the investigation ended – concerning the violations of the Protection of Economic Competition Act and the rules on economic competition in cultural events connected to the Slovak presidency, it decided on January 10, 2018 that it is sticking to its original findings, according to TASR.
The case surfaced when the former employee of the Foreign Ministry, Zuzana Hlávková, and the head of Transparency International Slovensko (TIS), Gabriel Šípoš, reported more than a year ago that cultural events connected with Slovakia’s presidency of EU Council – i.e. the gala-evening presenting the logo, and the opening concert for the public, were overpriced. Moreover, the agencies organising these events for FAM were selected in a dubious manner, they suggested.