Back to list Print 24. Apr. 2019

“Rīgas satiksme” disagrees with decision of Competition Council and will appeal against it

On April 18, 2019, “Rīgas satiksme” received the decision of the Competition Councils of April 12, 2019 on establishing an infringement and imposing a pecuniary penalty in the case “On the infringement of the prohibition set forth in Paragraph one of Section 11 of the Competition Law in the actions of SIA “RS Baltic”, SIA “Alchimica-Latvia”, SIA “MJ Partneri”, SIA “Vialeks”, SIA “HRM”, SIA “Sava arhitektūra” and RPSIA “Rīgas Satiksme””. “Rīgas satiksme” disagrees with the infringements established in the Decision and will appeal against it.

With this Decision, the Competition Council has established the guilt of “Rīgas satiksme” in a prohibited agreement regarding two competitive dialogues the company had organized. “Rīgas satiksme” believes that the Competition Council interpreted legal provisions incorrectly and contrary to the jurisprudence ofthe European Union. The Competition Council sees an infringement in the fact that a now-former employee of “Rīgas satiksme” acted in an illegal manner and in deliberate disguise to provide support to participants of competitive dialogues for his personal gain. This activity of the “Rīgas satiksme” employee and several participants of the competitive dialogue is now being assessed in criminal proceedings. Still, the Competition Council did not assess the ability of “Rīgas satiksme” as a market participant to prevent this particular crime, which could have had consequences for competition at the same time, although it is a mandatory precondition for establishing the guilt of a market participant. Therefore, “Rīgas satiksme” believes that the Competition Council has taken an unfounded decision based on misinterpretation of the competition law.

We also note that when taking the Decision, the Competition Council has committed several essential procedural infringements, which have led to biased investigation of the case and to taking the illegitimate Decision. We need only to look at the chronology of taking the Decision. Namely, the case against “Rīgas satiksme” was initiated on March 12, 2019, but already on March 14, 2019, “Rīgas satiksme” received a statement of the Competition Council, which said that all facts necessary to take a decision in this case had been established and these facts point to the guilt of “Rīgas satiksme”. “Rīgas satiksme” has been granted a period of 20 days to become familiar with the contents of this large case and provide its opinion about what has been established in the statement. Although “Rīgas satiksme” asked the deadline for giving its opinion to be extended, it was denied contrary to the general practice of the Competition Council. Thus, the opportunities of “Rīgas satiksme” to present evidence in this case were restricted. On April 12, 2019 – just one month after the case had been initiated – the Competition Council took its decision. Overall, it puts in question the unbiased and comprehensive investigation of the case.

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