The CNMC extends research to new companies in the supply of basic foods to public communities

MADRID, Sep. 20 (EUROPA PRESS) –

The National Commission of Markets and Competition (CNMC) has extended to other companies the investigation, initiated last March, for possible anti-competitive practices, which would affect certain tenders called for the supply of basic foods to communities dependent on public bodies .

Specifically, the body chaired by Cani Fernández analyzes the coordination between several companies for the presentation of economic offers in this type of public tender.

On September 14 and 15, the CNMC carried out a new round of inspections at the headquarters of several companies as a result of the inspections it carried out between March 22 and 23, with the collaboration of the regional competition authorities where they are located. the inspected companies.

The inspections represent a preliminary step in the investigation process of the alleged anti-competitive conduct and do not prejudge the result of the investigation or the culpability of the inspected companies.

If, as a result of the inspection, indications of practices prohibited by the Law on the Defense of Competition and by the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union are found, a sanctioning proceeding will be formally initiated.

The CNMC has recalled that agreements between competitors constitute a very serious infringement of competition law, which can lead to fines of up to 10% of the total turnover of the offending companies.

In fact, the investigation of cartels is one of the CNMC’s action priorities, given the special seriousness of its consequences on consumers and the proper functioning of the markets.

To this end, there is, among others, the leniency program, which allows companies that are part of a cartel to benefit from exemption from payment of the fine, as long as they provide evidence that enables the CNMC to detect it, or a reduction in the amount of the fine that could be imposed, if it provides information with significant added value, in relation to an investigation already initiated by said body.

On the other hand, the prohibition of contracting established in article 71 of Law 9/2017, of Public Sector Contracts, for those sanctioned for serious infringement in the matter of distortion of competition, would not have effect in relation to the companies requesting clemency.

In addition, the CNMC has an ‘online’ platform for citizen collaboration to detect cartels by providing anonymous information on possible secret agreements between competing companies for fixing prices or other commercial conditions, the distribution of markets or clients, or the fraudulent distribution of public or private tenders.

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