Sunday, 20 April 2014

Antitrust office imposes CZK 100m fine for waste disposal cartel

20 December 2012

Brno, Dec 19 (CTK) - Czech antitrust office UOHS has imposed a fine totalling almost Kc100m on four companies that have formed a cartel in the waste disposal business, UOHS chairman Petr Rafaj told CTK yesterday.

The biggest fine of Kc41.7m was imposed on AVE CZ odpadove hospodarstvi. Company .A.S.A. is to pay Kc24m, company van Gansewinkel almost Kc11m and company SITA nearly Kc20m.

The verdict has already come into effect, Rafaj said.

"Our investigation has shown that in 2007 and 2011 (in case of SITA and van Gansewinkel only in 2008 and 2010) the companies were dividing customers among themselves through mutual contacts and exchange of information and were coordinating their steps in public tenders in the area of waste disposal and road maintenance," Rafaj said.

"It was not a systematic mistake but an isolated failure of one of our employees," .A.S.A. spokeswoman Marie Mockova said in reaction to the UOHS decision. .A.S.A. nevertheless agrees with the fine and will pay it, she added.

Van Gansewinkel has recognised its fault. "We are aware of certain mistakes made by former managers who no longer work with us. Van Gansewinkel dissociates itself in principle from similar practices of unfair competition," van Gansewinkel media representative for CR Vaclav Friedmann said. The company will pay the fine, he added.

Company SITA CZ disagrees with UOHS's verdict but will not appeal it in court. "We are convinved that we did not perform the illegal activity of which were accused by UOHS," spokesman Jan Hlavac said. The SITA management has decided to use the possibility of ending the administrative proceedings by settlement.

The management of company AVE CZ respects the UOHS's verdict and will not take any legal steps to reverse the decision. "The UOHS's objections applied only to several individual cases, systemic malpractice is absolutely not the case here," AVE CZ spokeswoman Jana Vondrakova said.

According to UOHS, the cartel consisted of six bilateral agreements.

UOHS detected the cartel deals on the basis of its own investigation.

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