The Romanian Competition Council (“RCC”) has recently published for consultation on its website(http://www.consiliulconcurentei.ro/ro/despre-noi.html) a proposal for amendments to the Competition Law No. 21/1996 (“the Competition Law”). In addition to fine-tuning aspects related to areas such as prohibited agreements and practices, abuse of dominance, merger control, privilege and dawn-raids, the proposed amendments would also introduce severalsubstantial changes.
For example, if the amendments will be approved, the fine imposed by the RCC for competition law infringements (between 0.5% and 10% of the total turnover in the financial year preceding the sanctioning) will be determined based on the worldwide turnover of all the entities which are part of the same economic unit and which form a single undertaking under the meaning of Article 5 of the Competition Law and Article 101 TFEU. In addition, the principle of parent liability is now expressly regulated, along with a rebuttable presumption that a parent company holding 100% of the shareholding of its subsidiary effectively exercises a decisive influence upon its behaviour.
Currently, under the Competition Law, when an undertaking admits that its conduct violated competition rules and proposes remedies in order to mitigate the breach, it can receive a reduction of the fine between 10% and 30%. The amendment that the RCC now intends to introduce states that an undertaking can no longer benefit from the reduction of the fine obtained in case it subsequently challenges the fine in court. Moreover, the RCC can use the admission as evidence against the respective undertaking. In cases where the undertaking concerned also filed for leniency, the maximum amount of the reduction cannot exceed 60%.
The RCC’s draft for amending the Competition Law is subject to public consultation for a very short period, until 12 June 2015. It remains to be seen what the reaction of the business community and practitioners will be, as the amendments may affect key issues of interest for future or on-going investigations.