Serbia: Major Amendments To Anti-Trust And Merger Control Rules

Last Updated: 3 September 2010
Article by Christoph Haid and Srđana Petronijević

The Serbian Government adopted several bylaws in July 2010 which further modernize the Serbian competition law regime. The regulations entered into effect on 31 July 2010.

Regulation on setting of fines

The Regulation on the criteria for setting fines. (Uredba o kriterijumima za određivanje visine iznosa koji se plaća na osnovu mere zaatite konkurencije i procesnog penala, načinu i rokovima njihovog plaćanja i uslovima za određivanja tih mera; "Official Gazette of the RS" no. 50/2010; "Regulation on Fines") sets out several criteria to be taken into account when determining the amount payable on the basis of a measure for the protection of competition and procedural penalty:

  • the intent of the undertaking to commit an infringement of competition,
  • The severity, consequence and duration of the infringement of competition,
  • recidivism of undertakings,
  • enticement of other undertakings to undertake acts the goal or consequence of which is/could be to significantly restrict, distort or prevent competition,
  • the time during which the acts representing an infringement of competition were suspended,
  • the measures undertaken to remedy the occurred consequences of infringements of competition, and
  • the level of cooperation of undertakings during the proceedings to establish infringements of competition.

The deadline for payment of the fine may not be less than three months, or longer than a year from the day of receipt of the decision. The deadline shall be determined depending on the financial capacity of the undertaking against whom the measure or procedural penalty has been issued. Exceptionally, at the undertaking's request payment of the fine in instalments may be granted. However, the undertaking has to prove the existence or the certainty of the occurrence of significant and lasting financial difficulties in its business which could as a consequence result in bankruptcy or a longer interruption to business.

The Regulation on Fines is supplemented by Guidelines on the Implementation of the Regulation on Fines (Smernice za primenu Uredbe o kriterijumima za određivanje visine iznosa koji se plaća na osnovu mere zaatite konkurencije i procesnog penala, načinu i rokovima njihovog plaćanja i uslovima za određivanja tih mera) which stipulate in more detail the economic aspects of determining the amount fines.

Regulation on leniency

The Regulation On The Conditions For Exemption From The Obligation To Pay A Monetary Fine As A Measure Of Protection Of Competition (Uredba o uslovima za oslobađanje od obaveze plaćanja novčanog iznosa mere zaatite konkurencije; "Official Gazette of the RS" no. 50/2010) ("Leniency Regulation") stipulates in more detail under which conditions undertakings shall be exempt from the obligation to pay a monetary fine imposed by the competition authority for an infringement of the Serbian Competition Act.

The regulation provides that a participant to a restrictive agreement shall be exempt if four conditions are met:

  • it has to be the first to report the agreement of which the Commission did not have knowledge of or which did not have sufficient evidence to initiate proceedings,
  • it has to submit disposable evidence about the restrictive agreement and/or point out to the Commission the place or the person where that evidence can be found,
  • it must not have incited or coerced other undertakings to conclude or to implement the restrictive agreement, and
  • the undertaking must not be the initiator or organiser of the restrictive agreement.

Notwithstanding these conditions, a participant to a restrictive agreement might also be exempt if it:

  • signs a statement undertaking to fully and continuously cooperate in good faith with the Commission until a decision issuing a measure for the protection of competition is final and binding,
  • submits all evidence which it has in its possession or available to it, including documents and other evidence related to the notified agreement, and
  • without delay ceases further participation in the restrictive agreement, except at the approval or request of the Commission, for the purpose of conducting the investigation and collection of evidence. By issuing a statement, the notifying party undertakes not to act in a way that might jeopardise the procedure, and in particular not to reveal data or content from the statement and not to destroy or conceal evidence.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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