FAS to Challenge Ruling on Cartel on Market of Power-Generating Coal
OREANDA-NEWS. February 14, 2012. “FAS Russia intends to challenge at a higher Court instance the ruling of the Federal Arbitration Court of the Moscow District regarding “SUEK” OJSC and “Stroiservice” CJSC that FAS found out to taking part in a cartel on the coal market”, said the Head of FAS Igor Artemyev, reported the press-centre of FAS Russia.
On 6th February 2012, the Federal Arbitration Court of the Moscow District supported the rulings of lower Arbitration Courts that had taken the side of “SUEK” OJSC and “Stroiservice” CJSC challenging FAS decision on the case about the cartel on the coal market.
“The Court did not take into account shorthand notes of negotiations between the main participants on the market of power-generating coal who were trying to coordinate conditions for supplying power-generating coal to end customers, particularly, payment conditions, prices, volume of supply”, commented Igor Artemyev.
FAS decision regarding cartel participants on the coal market is the first in the practice of antimonopoly bodies and constitutes a precedent. FAS investigated the case and established the fact of concluding anticompetitive agreements with participation of the Russian Ministry of Interior – using materials and information obtained through operational and search activities. FAS conclusion on the case materials was forwarded to the Ministry of Interior in order to exercise proceedings for investigating the crime (under Article 178 of the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation).
In December 2010, investigating an antimonopoly case, FAS found that “SUEK” OJSC, “Russky Ugol” OJSC and “Stroiservice” CJSC violated Clauses 1 and 3 Part 1 Article 11 of the Federal Law “On Protection of Competition”.
The companies concluded agreements with each other that restricted competition on the coal market and were aimed at fixing coal prices and dividing the market of power-generating coal according to the categories of sellers.
The income of “SUEK” OJSC, “Russky Ugol” OJSC and “Stroiservice” CJSC from selling coal under competition-restricting agreements, concluded between the companies, exceeded 100 million Rubles.
As a result of the machinations, the income illegally obtained by “SUEK” OJSC as the difference between coal prices on a competitive market and in the absence of competition between “SUEK” OJSC, “Russky Ugol” OJSC and “Stroiservice” CJSC reached over 5 million Rubles - the amount of damage incurred by the counteragents of “SUEK” OJSC.
Penalties were imposed on the basis of FAS establishing the fact of violating the Federal Law “On Protection of Competition”. In September 2011, FAS Russia fined the companies for participating in the cartel on the coal market over 560 million Rubles (“SUEK” OJSC – 485 million Rubles, “Russky Ugol” OJSC – 66 million Rubles, and “Stroiservice” CJSC - 17 million Rubles).