COURT OF CASSATION: FAS LAWFULLY INITIATED A LEGAL CASE AGAINST OIL TRADERS
Decisions of the first and appellate instances were revoked
We remind that in early 2019, the FAS Russia initiated a case involving traders JSC Solid-Commodity Markets and LLC A-Oil on the grounds of violation of the Law on Protection of Competition1, suspecting the companies of cartel collusion in the exchange trading of fuel. According to the Antimonopoly authority, actions of the companies could influence the overall increase in prices for petroleum products (AI-92, AI-95, AI-98) in 2018.
The defendants appealed the order of the FAS to initiate proceedings in the Moscow Arbitration court, which declared the document illegal, pointing out that the FAS "overstepped its powers by applying the antimonopoly corpus delicti that establish liability to participants of tenders held in a different order and form."
The court of appeal agreed that the Antimonopoly body has the authority to identify signs of violation of the Law on Protection of Competition in organized auctions. However, it upheld the decision of the court of first instance, on the grounds that companies Solid-Commodity Markets and A-Oil were not competitors in the course of exchange trading.
Today, the Arbitration court of the Moscow district overturned the decisions of the first and appellate instances and recognized the order of the FAS Russia and the decision assigning the case for hearing.
"The defense line of the defendants has developed an interesting position that their type of trading on the exchange is not subject to the FAS. From the very beginning of the case, we disagreed with that and insisted on measures to allow us to continue our work. I am glad that the court of cassation agreed with our position. In the near future, we will return to the consideration of this landmark case and will certainly get it done," said State Secretary-Deputy Head of the FAS Russia Andrey Tsarikovsky.
"Despite the complexity of the case, we were initially confident in our legal positions. At the same time, given that this is the first cartel that we have identified on the stock exchange, many issues were not easy for the courts. I am glad that already at the stage of appealing the order to initiate the case, we were able to prove that despite the specifics of exchange trading, it is still trading, which is also subject to control by the Antimonopoly authority on a par with other forms of trading," added Andrey Tenishev, Head of the Anti-Cartel Department of the FAS Russia.
1 P. 1 and P. 2 of Part 1 of Article 11 of the Law on Protection of Competition