The Commission for Protection of Competition of Serbia (the “Commission”) announced on 3 May 2023 that it initiated an antitrust investigation against the companies KTG Solucije d.o.o. Subotica and Eco Sense d.o.o. Subotica due to alleged restrictive agreement – colluding in public procurement procedures (bid rigging).
According to the Commission’s public announcement, the assumption of the suspected violation is based on the documentation provided by the Office for Public Procurement, followed by the Commission’s analysis of Internet Protocol addresses the accused parties used to access the Public Procurement Portal. Based on the Commission’s allegations – one of the accused companies has been withdrawing from the public procurement processes with the aim that the purchaser in public procurement enters into an agreement with the second ranked bidder (the other accused party), but on higher prices.
The Commission has simultaneously conducted dawn raids at the companies’ premises. Furthermore, as the Commission has conducted an analysis of the Internet Protocol addresses – it is very much important to note that the Commission seems to be eager to use all the available technical tools to search for potential competition infringements. The Commission’s analysis hence seems to show that the accused companies could have potentially used the same internet network to access the Public Procurement Portal, moreover the same electronic device for access to the portal.
By Bojana Miljanovic Hussey, and Bojan Vuckovic, Partners, Karanovic & Partners