On 10 July, the Competition Council of Latvia carried out procedural activities – unannounced inspection – at two construction materials selling companies. The authority performed investigation activities on the basis of suspicions regarding possible infringement of Section 11 of the Competition Law.
The Competition Council has concerns that the companies involved have committed the most severe infringement of the Competition Law – prohibited cartel agreement – and have agreed their offers in several procurements organized by public administrative bodies in Latgale.
Inspection is a preliminary step into suspected anticompetitive practices, and the purpose of it is to acquire evidence on the involvement of companies in the infringement. The Competition Council reminds that performance of inspection does not confirm the guilt of the companies as well as does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation. The companies involved in the proceeding have the right of defence and provision of their opinion before decision making by the authority.
Investigation of competition infringements may last up to two years. Duration of the inquiry depends on a number of factors, including the complexity of each case and the extent to which the parties concerned co-operate with the Authority. If suspicions on the possible infringement confirms, a fine up to 10% of undertaking’s turnover of the previous financial year may be imposed, as well as a prohibition of one year to participate in public procurements.