For several years now, a leniency model exists in Macedonia and it is shaped in line with the EU leniency model. Nevertheless, the Macedonian Competition Commission ("Commission") decided to refine the existing rules (contained in the Law on Protection of Competition and the accompanying Leniency Regulation) by recently adopting the Leniency Guidelines ("Guidelines").
The companies that have taken part in illegal cartels may benefit from full or partial immunity from fines, under the leniency model, and the Guidelines should make this process more transparent and predictable. It is extremely important that the companies act swiftly, as delayed reactions can potentially be very detrimental.
Through the adoption of the recent Guidelines, the Commission introduced several novelties that should facilitate the process of reporting anti-competitive behaviour. The new Guidelines represent a step towards building an effective leniency policy in Macedonia.
What is new?
The Guidelines urge those involved to contact the Misdemeanour Commission before submitting a leniency application. The applications are assessed by the Misdemeanour Commission, which operates within the Commission, as the authority charged with potentially awarding full immunity from a fine, or a fine reduction - as the case may be. In order to protect the identity and establish much needed trust in the communication, the Misdemeanour Commission will not disclose the identity of the applicant if there is no reward granted. Additionally (and quite conveniently), applicants can approach the Misdemeanour Commission directly, or through a legal adviser, and present the case on hypothetical terms.
Another novelty is the possibility of an electronic submission to the dedicated email address of the Commission. In such a case, the hard-copy version of the application needs to be submitted to the Commission within three days. If the application is submitted through a registered mailing address, the Commission recommends that the applicant inserts in the envelope the exact time when the application was sent. The Guidelines also deal with the details for the submission of oral applications.
Book your reservations
Interested parties can apply beforehand for a marker which will hold their place in the queue for obtaining immunity. This should enable applicants to gather the necessary information and evidence, and to file an official leniency application. The marker is valid for a set period of time, but if there are well-grounded reasons, the applicant can request an extension to the deadline for submitting the application.
Potential leniency applicants should also note that the Misdemeanour Commission will not accept a leniency application submitted by, or on behalf of, two or more undertakings that participate in the same cartel thus joint applications are not possible. Therefore, in case a company has any reason to suspect that it is involved in anti-competitive behaviour, it should act expeditiously, directly or through a legal advisor, in approaching the Commission; otherwise, any action taken at a later date can potentially result in severe penalties.
The Guidelines are publically available (in Macedonian language only) at: http://www.kzk.gov.mk/images/Vestiimages/1616/%D0%9F%D0%A0%D0%95%D0%97%D0%95%D0%9C%D0%98.pdf