In March 2017, the Montenegrin Agency for the Protection of Competition carried out an unannounced inspection (dawn raid) at the business premises of Sava Trans d.o.o. Cetinje, a company engaged in freight transport, in order to collect data necessary for undertaking further actions carried out by the Agency. In its public statement, the Agency stated that the dawn raid was conducted fully in line with the Law on the Protection of Competition, whereas the raided company showed a high degree of cooperation.
Dawn raids are unannounced inspections of companies by the competition authority for suspected competition law infringements. The Law on the Protection of Competition provides the Agency with wide-ranging powers of investigation when conducting dawn raids, including, inter alia, unannounced inspection of business premises, documents, vehicles, copying or seizure of business related documentation, such as the agreements, minutes from the meetings, e-mails and other business correspondence, etc.
Dawn raids in Montenegro have been very rarely carried out by the Agency in the past. However, following dawn raids conducted by competition authorities in the region in the past couple of years, in particular by the Croatian, Bosnian, Serbian and Slovenian competition authorities, the Montenegrin Agency has clearly decided to start using this effective investigation tool in order to determine whether there are potential infringements on market competition. Having in mind that the dawn raids conducted in the region proved to be very successful and useful for gathering evidence of anti-trust behaviour, we expect that antitrust officials' "unannounced visits" will be used more often by the Montenegrin Competition Agency in the days to come.