Romanian Competition Council Guidelines on the procedure applicable in case the companies acknowledge competition law breaches
The Romanian Competition Council issued new guidelines for the setting of fines, which were published on November 3rd 2016. The guidelines also provide for the applicable procedure should a company acknowledge the infringement (similar with the settlement procedure at the level of the European Commission).
Should a company expressly, clearly and unequivocally acknowledge a competition law breach (including the undertaking of liability and the acceptance of the anticipated quantum of the fine), depending on the moment of acknowledgment, on whether it is total or partial and on whether any company benefited of leniency in the investigation, it will benefit of a reduction of the fine (from 10 to 30% of the basic level).
The procedure implies the following main elements:
- the authority asks the companies, if it deems opportune, to express their intention to engage in discussions;
- interested companies may request bilateral clarification meetings;
- should the parties reach a common view, the authority grants the interested companies the possibility to submit a proposal of acknowledgment and allows them access to the main elements in the file.
The acknowledgment can take place either before issuance of the statement of objections (in which case a simplified statement of objections and sanctioning decision will be issued) or after being communicated the statement of objections and granted access to the investigation file (at the latest before the hearings begin).
Access to acknowledgment submissions in non-confidential version is granted only to the addresses of the statement of objections not having acknowledged and not to other parties such as complainants.
The level of the fine can be diminished including when the fine is established at the minimum level provided by the law (0.5%), but not less than 0.2% of the turnover.
(article included in the November Newsletter of Vogel Global Competition Network)