COMPETITION COUNCIL: REFUSAL TO PROVIDE DOCUMENTS DURING INSPECTION IS A SERIOUS PROCEDURAL INFRINGEMENT
On February 19, Vilnius Regional Administrative Court (the Court) upheld the Council‘s decision to impose a fine of 615 000 LTL on UAB LitCon for obstructing the inspection and, thus, impeding the investigation.
During the inspection an employee of UAB LitCon refused the Council‘s experts a document that potentially had an evidential value. Disregarding the warnings about the legal liability, the aforementioned employee left the inspected premises with the important document and presented it to the Council‘s officials only after some time. Such actions posed a risk to the evidential value of the document since the document could have been damaged or amended.
According to the Council‘s evaluation, such actions prevented the officials from obtaining documents of an evidential value therefore, on 17 July 2013, the competition authority imposed a fine on UAB LitCon.
The Court acknowledged that the employee‘s refusal to present documents of an evidential value by taking them from the inspected premises during the inspection is considered to be a serious procedural infringement.
Speed and efficiency of the Council‘s investigations are highly dependent on cooperativeness of undertakings. Provision of information as well as the required documents is essential during both the investigation and the inspection in the premises of the companies.
On 23 February 2012, the Council imposed a fine on UAB Plungės duona for the failure to fulfil mandatory obligations to provide the required information.
(1)The Law on Competition prohibits undertakings to hinder the Council‘s officials from entering into and carrying out inspections of the premises, territory and means of transport of the companies, inspecting or seizing any documents and articles having evidential value in the investigation of the case.
(2) For the infringement of this prohibition a fine of up to one per cent of the gross annual income in the preceding business year may be imposed.Competition Council Spokesperson