JAIL TIME TO CARTEL MEMBERS
Criminal punishment for a crime against competition
On 31 July 2019, Samara District Court read out the sentence in a criminal case against top executives of “SMT” Ltd., “GE Healthcare” Ltd. and the Ministry of Healthcare of the Samara region.
Earlier the investigators charged Director of “Modern Medical Technologies” [“SMT”] and his Deputy with attempting to form a cartel and gaining especially large income; former Deputy Minister of the regional Ministry of Healthcare, Head of Medical Equipment Supply Department of Samara Regional Ministry of Healthcare, Head of an operating division of “GE Healthcare” Ltd. in Russia and the CIS, a strategic customers, “GE Healthcare” Ltd.; and a senior engineer of “SMT” Ltd. with complicity to attempt a cartel gaining especially large income. Also officials from Samara Regional Ministry of Healthcare were charged with abuse of office.
Court concluded that the guilt of the accused is proven. Director of “SMT” Ltd. is sentenced to 3.5 years in a standard-security penitentiary camp facility; his Deputy is given 2.5 years suspended sentence, the engineer of “SMT” Ltd. - 2.5 years suspended sentence, former Deputy Minister of Healthcare - 3 years in a standard-security penitentiary camp facility, Head of Medical Equipment Supply Department of Samara Regional Ministry of Healthcare - 2.5 years suspended sentence, representatives of “GE Healthcare” Ltd. - 2 years suspended sentence.
The violations were committed in the course of organizing a joint electronic auction, where 23 healthcare facilities in the Samara region were the customers. Samara OFAS established that the purpose of 4 anticompetitive agreements was to make “SMT” Ltd. the auction winner. As a result of торгов the goal of illegal collusions was achieved and “SMT” Ltd. signed 23 government contracts with medical facilities for the total amount - 768 million RUB.
Samara OFAS made a decision on the violation and held economic entities – cartel members administratively liable and imposed multi-million fines.
The case materials were transferred to the Investigation Department of the Investigation Committee of the Russian Federation in the Samara region that opened a criminal case upon the fact of competition restriction.
Stats-Secretary, Deputy Head of FAS Andrey Tsarikovskiy said: “In 2018 Address to the Federal Assembly, the President of Russia stated that the norms of the criminal law should be strictly applied to crimes against economic liberties’ and for violating competition. The President gave relevant orders on establishing collaboration between the law enforcement and antimonopoly bodies to suppress cartel agreements and other criminal encroachments against competition. The sentence is a result of such collaboration”.
Head of FAS Anti-Cartel-Department Andrey Tenishev emphasized: “The sentence is a result of joint efforts of the law enforcement and antimonopoly bodies and comprehensive, objective investigation of the circumstances of cartel activities. We welcome the Court ruling and believe that punishments for such a heavy economic violations must be commensurate to the perpetrated crime and the harm to competition”.