ARE FAS POWERS EXCESSIVE?
The XI Conference on “Antimonopoly Regulation in Russia” opened with a discussion on the current FAS powers, their possible transformation and development, economic surveys of markets and FAS investigations
The session moderator was Marianna Minsker, a presenter on RTVI international TV channel.
Answering whether FAS should establish a special economic unit, Stats-Secretary, Deputy Head of FAS Andrey Tsarikovskiy thanked the experts for their high opinion of FAS economic research and pointed out that FAS endeavors to achieve the maximum efficiency.
He reminded that the Antimonopoly Service already institutionalized such an initiative. With the course of time, however, FAS has opted for another model of its structure: it is moving from sectoral control to control based on particular Articles of the law. A striking example is FAS Anti-Cartel Department.
When asked what FAS lacks, Andrey Tsarikovskiy said that it is definitely not control over new laws. FAS, however, needs to codify the already existing investigating powers that now take the form of "customary business practices", particularly — obtaining information and possibility to legally use it in investigations.
“We have changed – FAS investigated mostly cases of social and economic importance and significance for the society or for practice”, explained Andrey Tsarikovskiy regarding “small” antimonopoly cases handled by FAS.
“Global mergers have already become our standard practice”, added Deputy Head of FAS in the context of developing FAS practice.
Regarding new potential powers of the antimonopoly body, he emphasized that the best would be an NGO capable to take some functions over from the state.
Commenting development of the powers of the antimonopoly authority, Head of FAS Legal Department, Artem Molchanov pointed out that the current FAS functionalities enable it to maintain the foundation of the single market.
He highlighted that “the powers assigned to FAS are synchronized between each other and support the foundations of single market performance. Tariff regulation, cartels, control over public procurement, analysis of economic development on the markets – everything is mutually related. Today we lack, perhaps, further pinpointed adjustment of regulatory tools”.
Head of FAS Anti-Cartel Department, Andrey Tenishev outlined legislative amendments that tighten liability for cartels: “Many jurisdictions have criminal liability for cartels. Article 178 was included in the Criminal Code of the Russian federation in 1996 and since then only 6 persons were sentenced for cartels, of whom two were imprisoned. A threat of criminal punishment, undoubtedly, should be embedded in the preventive motivation of cartel participants as rational white-colour criminals. Administrative fines do not always deter form cartels and sometimes can provoke recidivism”.
The XI Conference – “Antimonopoly Regulation in Russia” took place in Moscow on 25 October. The event is organized by the “Vedomosti” newspaper and the Antimonopoly Experts Association with support of the Federal Antimonopoly Service.