Motieka & Audzevičius lawyers represented clients in an alleged hard-core cartel case, concerning four legal persons form a single economic entity.
The National Competition Authority (NCA) suspects a territory supervision entity, its parent company and parent company’s subsidiaries (as forming a single economic entity) in alleged concerted actions with another entity in public procurement. NCA imposed a maximal possible fine it could calculate.
Vilnius regional administrative court quashed the Resolution of the NCA. Upon hearing arguments of the parties, the Court established that there is a lack of sufficient legal arguments and factual casual link to establish that two out of four entities are a part of the alleged single economic entity. After thorough deliberations the Court upheld that two legal persons form a single economic entity, not four.
Furthermore, the Court held the Resolution of the NCA partly unconstitutional due to the imposed joint and several liability for the legal persons forming the alleged single economic entity. Such liability is not prescribed by the law. Additionally, it is stated that the NCA is inconsistent while applying maximum possible coefficients when calculating the fine in this particular case, therefore the case should be brought back to the NCA for recalculations.
Regarding the infringement the Court upheld NCA’s position that even if factual circumstances could be qualified as one of two possible infringements, it is up to the NCA to decide what presumptions to apply and which infringement to establish. In dubio pro reo standard is possibly infringed in this case taking into consideration that the infringements result in very different legal consequences.
The NCA publicly announced that it holds that all the legal persons concerned did infringed national competition rules and will appeal the decision of the Vilnius regional administrative court.