Individual cartel conduct is criminalised by Act No. 136/2001 on Protection of Competition (the Competition Act).
It is an offence for an individual to participate in a cartel provided that the conduct has caused damage in excess of EUR26,000 to a competitor or has threatened the business operation of a competitor.
The definition of cartel conduct is covered by Section 4 of the Competition Act which prohibits agreements and concerted practices between undertakings, and decisions by associations of undertakings, that have as their object the restriction of competition. These are particularly agreements that contain:
- direct or indirect fixing of prices or other trading conditions;
- a commitment to limit or control production, sales, technical development or investment;
- division of the market or sources of supply;
- a commitment to apply dissimilar conditions to equivalent or comparable performance to individual undertakings, which will or may disadvantage these undertakings in competition;
- conditions stipulating that the conclusion of contracts will require the parties to accept supplementary obligations, which, by their nature or according to commercial usage, have no connection with the subject of such contracts; or
- signs of bid rigging, especially in the process of public procurement.
A fine and a maximum of three years’ imprisonment.
If the damage is in excess of EUR133,000 or the cartel conduct results in the bankruptcy of a competitor then the sentence is between two and six years’ imprisonment.
If the conduct amounts to bid rigging the sentence is a maximum of twelve years’ imprisonment.
Cartel conduct is not criminalised.