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The Competition Council applied to the undertaking SRL „Horus” a fine of about 580 thousand MDL for obstructing the dawn raid

           
13.06.2024   762 Views    

The Plenum of the Competition Council took on 7 June 2024 a decision on finding the infringement of the procedural rules by SRL „Horus" during the conduct of the dawn raid. The dawn raid took place in early 2023, in the context of an investigation into alleged infringements of the Competition Law.


During the dawn raid carried out at the SRL „Horus", the Competition Council team encountered multiple obstacles and delays from the representatives of the undertaking. The actions of the enterprise's employees included refusals to allow prompt access to certain workspaces, delays in accessing emails and providing evasive or erroneous answers to questions.


Thus, according to the legislation in force, given the circumstances of the case, the Competition Council imposed a fine of 576 769 MDL on the undertaking.


Dawn raids are one of the most important investigative tools for identifying and collecting evidence of infringements of competition law. Employees of the Competition Council have the right to immediately access any premises of the enterprise, to examine and make copies of relevant documents, regardless of the support on which they are stored. In order to prevent the destruction of electronic files, the employees of the authority may take measures to ensure full and prompt access to these files during the dawn raid.


Any delay or preventing access to information and lack of cooperation with the Competition Council's employees may lead to the destruction or alteration of essential evidence, thus affecting the Council's ability to effectively investigate infringements of legislation. For this reason, the sanctions for obstructing dawn raids are very strict, being calculated according to the annual turnover and can reach up to 0.5% of it (1% from 2026).


The President of the Competition Council, Alexei GHERȚESCU, noted that such strict rules are applied by all competition authorities in Europe: „There is a consistent practice and case-law at European Union level which obliges the undertakings to which the dawn raid  is carried out to comply with it and to cooperate effectively with representatives of the competition authority. Enterprises are obliged to actively cooperate with representatives of the Competition Council during an dawn raid, to provide them with access without delay to all the premises in which they operate, provide accurate information and provide access to all relevant documents. Any delay in carrying out these actions could be interpreted as obstruction and subsequently sanctioned".


The Competition Council reaffirms its commitment to ensure strict compliance with the competition rules in the Republic of Moldova. Undertakings are warned that any attempt to obstruct dawn raids will be treated with the utmost seriousness and sanctioned accordingly. Transparent and prompt cooperation with the competition authority is essential for the effective conduct of investigations and possibly for maintaining a fair and competitive business environment for the benefit of the whole economy and consumers.


The decision can be appealed within 30 days in the specialized court. It is to be published on the Competition Council website once the confidentiality of the content of the document is ensured.

 

 

 

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