Court supported a decision on the most mass-scale cartel
Moscow Arbitration Court pronounced legitimacy of the FAS decision on a bid-rigging cartel case for supplies of military uniforms and gear for the needs of the Ministry of Interior, the Federal Security Service and the Federal Customs Service
The scope of the exposed cartel is unprecedented: more than 90 legal entities are found guilty.
The investigation revealed that the bid-rigging cartel participants took part in 18 open electronic auctions for the total amount exceeding 3.5 billion RUB.
The cartel members developed a system of “quotas”, calculated in view of the initial contract price pro rata to the number of auction participants. “Quotas” could be obtained, exchanged or accumulated. Upon accumulating a particular amount of “quotas” and reaching arrangements with other cartel participants, one of the cartel members could become a “contract holder” on an auction.
Deputy Head of FAS Anti-Cartel Department, Mukhamed Mamukov added: “The cartel controlled the organized “quota system” through regular information exchange. The evidence was discovered by FAS in the course of unscheduled inspections at companies’ offices”.
The evidence on entering and participating in the cartel agreement also includes confessions from some respondents, given under FAS leniency programme.
FAS made a decision on the case on violating Clause 2 Part 1 Article 11 of the Federal Law “On Protection of Competition” and fined the violators more than 606 million RUB in total. The first company that admitted its participation in the cartel was relieved from administrative liability. Three more companies were imposed the minimal fines.
45 legal entities disagreed with the FAS decision and filed a lawsuit. Moscow Arbitration Court supported the position of the antimonopoly authority and dismissed the companies’ claim.