A CRIMINAL CASE AGAINST THE PERSONS INVOLVED IN THE ANTICOMPETITIVE COLLUSION WAS CONSIDERED IN THE NOVOSIBIRSK COURT
The agreement was implemented at 437 auctions for the supply of medicines, medical devices, food products and for the provision of services for transportation of medicines for the needs of the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation valued at over 500 million rubles
On May 18, 2020, a regular court session was held in the Oktyabrsky District Court of Novosibirsk city. The criminal case against the Directors of LLC "Company FITO" and LLC "Terra"1, as well as criminal cases against the Deputy Research Director of the National Medical Research Center (NMRC) named after academician E. N. Meshalkin, the Director2 of the medical institution and his wife3 were iniciated after the Novosibirsk Regional Office of the FAS Russia found and proved the collusion. Federal state budgetary institution "NMRC named after AK. Meshalkin" of the Ministry of Health of Russia, LLC "Company FITO" and LLC "Terra" concluded and implemented an agreement that led to restriction of competition and creation of preferential conditions for these companies.
"We are increasingly using digital evidence, including remotely obtained. In this case, we used the "Big Digital Cat" software to detect and prove collusion. As a result of this program, the process of identifying cartels can take place at your desk, and the time for collecting and analyzing evidence is significantly reduced," explained Andrey Tenishev, Head of the Anti-Cartel Department of the FAS Russia.
Following the remote analysis of bidding and detection of signs of anticompetitive agreements, the FAS Russia delegated to Novosibirsk Regional Office of the FAS Russia the authority to review the case materials, as well as to conduct unscheduled inspections in respect of LLC "Company FITO" and LLC "Terra".
The Antimonopoly authority found that the organizations agreed to maintain prices at auctions held by the medical center, gave appearance of competition, allowing the maximum cost of the contract to be reduced by no more than 0.5%.
Companies were fined heavily. The courts of three instances supported the position of the Antimonopoly authority. The case materials were also submitted to law enforcement authorities for criminal prosecution against officials of the companies.
"We have already noted that the supply of medicines, medical devices and equipment is one of the most cartelized areas in the Russian economy. Unfortunately. Because in this case, we are talking not only about budgets and profit that is settling in the pockets of the participants of the collusion, but also about the health of our citizens. The money saved could have been spent for the benefit of the clinic, not its management. The FAS Russia actively cooperates with law enforcement authorities to detect and prevent such violations, as well as to ensure that those responsible get what they deserve. Large fines and criminal prosecution may make other potential cartel owners wonder whether it is so profitable to break the law," - commented Andrey Tenishev.
1 On the grounds of violation of article 178 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation "Restriction of competition".
2 On the grounds of a crime under part 4 of article 159 and part 4 of article 174 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.
3 On the grounds of a crime under part 4 of article 160 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.