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KONKURENCIJOS TARYBA APPROVES WHISTLEBLOWER REMUNERATION PROCEDURE

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From July 1 persons who provide evidence enabling Konkurencijos taryba to detect anti-competitive agreements will be entitled to a financial reward. It is hoped that this will encourage the society to take a more active role in reporting to the Lithuanian competition authority cartels or other anti-competitive agreements entered into by the competitors.

Taking into account the amendments to the Law on Competition, which enter into force on July 1, Konkurencijos taryba approved the procedure, according to which whistleblowers will be subject to single payments. As envisaged by the Law, a whistleblower remuneration will constitute 1 per cent of the fines imposed on the infringers, and will range from EUR 1,000 to EUR 100,000.

Persons are invited to provide evidence to Konkurencijos taryba by e-mail praneskmums@kt.gov.lt, mail (Jogailos g. 14, Vilnius) or by coming to the competition authority. Before submitting all relevant information, interested persons can ask for individual consultations with the authority‘s experts on the application of the respective procedure. Upon request, the identity of whistleblowers will not be disclosed to the parties of the investigation procedure, including undertakings suspected of a competition law infringement.

Konkurencijos taryba obliges itself to make a decision regarding the allocation of a reward within 20 days from the official disclosure of an infringement.

Whistleblowers can expect to receive remuneration if they first provide relevant information prior to the authority's decision to open an investigation, and if the evidence in question was gathered in a legal manner. Otherwise, if it came out that the evidence was obtained as a result of unlawful acts, money would have to be paid back to the authority.

Managers or members of the supervisory and governing bodies of an undertaking who submitted a leniency application in the same case, and employees, as well as persons who had access to evidence when performing their duties in judicial or other supervisory authorities, will not be entitled to remuneration.

Konkurencijos taryba approved the procedure after receiving and examining opinions and comments submitted to it during a public consultation. Financial rewards will be paid for the whistleblowers from the authority‘s budget.

The Law on Competition stipulates that cartel agreements might result in fines of up to 10 per cent of company‘s gross annual income, or personal liability for the managers of undertakings, i.e. restricted right to occupy managerial position for 3 to 5 years and a fine of EUR 14,481.