FAS Russia Anti-Cartel Programme Approved for 2019–2023

04.07.2019

Legal Update No 684

 

Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner (Russia) LLP (formerly Goltsblat BLP in Russia) advises that Russian Government Decree No. 1314-r of 17 June 2019 has been published. It approves a cross-departmental programme for detecting and closing down cartels and other agreements restricting competition for 2019–2023 (the Programme).

Developed by Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS), the Programme reaffirms the watchdog’s commitment to boosting its collaboration with law enforcement agencies in responding promptly to infringements involving cartels or other restrictive agreements, and to improving related laws.

  1. Key points of the Programme:

    • Sharing the latest information about cartels and other restrictive agreements and their participants;

    • Taking steps to detect and terminate offences and crimes involving anticompetitive agreements;

    • Improving professional development and training of the staff of concerned executive authorities, the General Prosecutor’s Office and the Investigative Committee in methods and practices for detecting, exposing and investigating any wrongdoing involving anticompetitive agreements;

    • Drafting and implementing place guidelines for collaboration between the FAS and relevant law enforcement agencies in facilitating detection, exposure and investigation of crimes involving restriction of competition (Article 178 of Russia’s Criminal Code);

    • Improving Russian antitrust, criminal, criminal procedure and administrative offence laws and other regulations.

    The FAS has already come up with numerous of anti-cartels bills to counter cartels and make criminal and administrative liability for cartel involvement more stringent1. These bills are in the focus of much discussion within the professional and business communities and have not been submitted to the State Duma yet. The Programme de facto fast-tracks their submission, tentatively scheduling this for September 2019.

    Programme also calls for a bill to reduce administrative fines for those involved in restrictive agreements yet prepared to pay the fine voluntarily and on time. The bill is expected to be submitted to the Russian Government in December 2019 and to the State Duma in April 2020.

  2. Programme targets:

    • The ratio of pending enforcement proceedings to collect administrative fines for offences under Article 14.32 of the Administrative Offence Code to resolutions on such offences received by the Federal Court Bailiff Service is to increase, from 20% in 2019 to 30% in 2023;

    • The number of proceedings launched for Russian antitrust law violations over alleged cartels and/or other restrictive agreements generating less than RUB 50 m in profits for their participants or causing damage of less than RUB 10 m2 is to decrease, from minus 8% in 2019 to minus 30% in 2023 (compared to 198 proceedings in 2017).

  3. The Programme calls for arrangements to be put in place for recovering, through the courts, damages arising for the State from cartels or other restrictive arrangements made during tenders. It also provides for termination of contracts awarded by such tenders.

Such arrangements could drive further development of private antitrust lawsuits.

On the date of this Information Letter, the full Programme is available at

http://static.government.ru/media/files/hZAOhv5nyENRglMoTLAc8UoK1k52MzZq.pdf

 


1 See, for example, https://regulation.gov.ru/p/74514; https://regulation.gov.ru/p/76395
2 Thresholds set by the effective Article 178 (Restriction of Competition) of Russia’s Criminal Code

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