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Office of Competition and Consumer Protection

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The President of UOKiK's principles of imposing fines on managers

< previous | next > 04.08.2020

The President of UOKiK's principles of imposing fines on managers
  • Managers responsible for concluding restrictive agreements are liable to a financial fine of up to PLN 2 million.
  • On konkurencja.uokik.gov.pl we have published explanations on the principles for determining the amount of sanctions.

Sanctions for implementing restrictive practices may be imposed not only on companies - the regulations provide for imposing financial penalties of up to PLN 2 million also on managers who have deliberately authorised the conclusion of restrictive agreements. Yesterday, the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection published detailed explanations on the method of determining the amount of fines for managers.

- The President of UOKiK safeguards the interests of Polish consumers and entrepreneurs, as well as supports the competitive edge of Polish economy. Restrictive agreements jeopardise these objectives and where the managers have deliberately led, for example, to a price collusion or division collusion, they must bear the financial consequences of their behaviour. The manager's impact on the infringement or the harmfulness of his actions or omissions may vary. Therefore, all important factors will be taken into account when setting the amount of the fine, to ensure that the fine is fair - says Tomasz Chróstny, the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection.

Stages for determining the fine

In order to comply with the requirement of proportionality, the amount of the fine shall be determined in several stages involving both objective and subjective circumstances. First of all, the President of UOKiK will take into account the nature of the infringement - its severity, consequences, and scale. On that basis, he will establish a base amount which will be used to further determine the amount of the fine. The most severely fined will be arrangements made among competitors. However, the President of UOKiK also intends to deal rigorously with certain categories of agreements concerning relations between entrepreneurs operating at different trade tiers (e.g. producer-wholesaler, wholesaler-retailer). Such agreements covering different trade tiers may include, inter alia, the setting of minimum resale prices (e.g. a sports store agrees not to sell bicycles below the price indicated by the manufacturer) and a ban on passive sales (e.g. an electronics store agrees not to sell computers of a particular manufacturer to consumers who contact it from an area other than that indicated by the manufacturer).

Another important prerequisite for determining the amount of the fine is the manager's impact on the infringement which can be: high, medium or moderate. In the next step, the President of UOKiK will take into account aggravating and extenuating circumstances. The former include, for example, the role of the organiser, the significant benefits obtained by the manager, exerting pressure on others to commit the infringement, as well as previous record of a similar infringement. Extenuating circumstances include forced action or cooperation with UOKiK during the proceedings.

The amount of sanctions will also be affected by the duration of the infringement for which the manager is responsible. The President of UOKiK will also investigate whether a manager has previously breached the Act on competition and consumer protection. This concerns infringements other than those for which they have been currently held liable (similar offences have already been included as aggravating circumstances).

Finally, the President of UOKiK will verify whether the sanction is adequate in relation to the manager's income and whether it will have a dissuasive effect. He will also make sure that the fixed amount does not exceed the maximum fine of PLN 2 million. All these stages are aimed at issuing a decision in which the fine imposed will be fair.

- We are currently conducting 4 anti-trust proceedings in which we investigate the actions and omissions attributable to a total of 19 managers. Still in 2020 we can expect decisions including financial sanctions for managers - says President of UOKiK Tomasz Chróstny.

The leniency programme

Severe sanctions can be avoided by taking advantage of the leniency scheme. It gives the entrepreneur as well as managers involved in an illegal agreement a chance to apply for the crown witness status. This allows to avoid or get a reduced fine. The scheme is available to those who agree to cooperate with UOKiK and provide evidence or information on the illegal agreement. Entrepreneurs and managers interested in the leniency scheme are invited to contact the Office by calling at 22 55 60 555, where UOKiK lawyers will answer all of questions, also anonymous ones, related to leniency applications.

If you are aware of any illicit agreements at your former or present workplace, please report them to UOKiK. The Office runs a programme of acquiring information from anonymous whistle-blowers. Visit https://konkurencja.uokik.gov.pl/sygnalista/ and fill out a simple form. The system we use guarantees full anonymity, also towards the Office.

Additional information for the media:

UOKiK Press Office
Pl. Powstańców Warszawy 1, 00-950 Warszawa, Poland
Phone +48 695 902 088, +48 22 55 60 246
E-mail: [SCODE]Yml1cm9wcmFzb3dlQHVva2lrLmdvdi5wbA==[ECODE]
Twitter: @UOKiKgovPL

Attached files

 

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