Cassation Court supported FAS in a dispute with agro-industrial companies

30-10-2017 | 15:33

Earlier FAS established that the companies in the Belgorod regional Foundation for promoting products of local producers reached an oral agreement to give advantages in obtaining funds

In 2016 the Commission of the Federal Antimonopoly Service made a decision on a case for violating the antimonopoly law (Article of the Federal Law “For Protection of Competition”) against the Government of the Belgorod region, Foundation for promoting products of local producers and several economic entities.

The Commission revealed that the Promotion Foundation and the companies, connected with each other through the Board Chairman of “Green Valley” State-Corporation reached arrangements designed to obtain advantages to receive funds from the Promotion Foundation throughout 2014, which restricted competition on the food markets of the Belgorod region.

Based on the FAS Commission decision, legal entities – the parties to the agreement and officials are held administratively liable and fined.

The collusion participants did not accept the decision of Antimonopoly Service and filed a lawsuit. Moscow Arbitration Court also confirmed legitimacy of FAS decision; however, the Appeal Court made a different judgment and reversed FAS decision. On 24 October 2017 the Arbitration Court of the Moscow District reversed the judgment of the 9th Arbitration Appeal Court and confirmed legitimacy of the FAS decision.

“The position of the Cassation Court on the case will be an important addition in the “piggy-bank” of judicial acts that determine the standards of proving anticompetitive agreement by the antimonopoly body. The Court concluded that the antimonopoly body had collected evidence in the scope required to confirm that the anticompetitive agreement was concluded, which is prohibited by the law and unacceptable. The Court also stated that in the course of judicial review of FAS decision it would be wrong to evaluate each gathered piece of evidence individually, separately from all evidence in their totality. A different approach to   judicial review of FAS decisions will lead to inability to proof anticompetitive agreements in principle”, said Deputy Head of FAS Andrey Tsyganov.

A positive Court evaluation was given to market analysis carried out by the antimonopoly body. Following the opinion of the Supreme Court of the Russian federation, specified in Judicial Practice Review of 16.03.2016, market analysis should be performed in the scope required to make a decision, and Courts cannot give absence of particular stages of analysis, not specified for that case category, as the grounds for reversing FASA decisions.