In what is apparently the first court case in this respect, the Moscow Commercial (Arbitrazh) Court ordered the disqualification of the CEO of a Russian legal entity for violation of Russian antitrust laws. This is a sign of the Russian antitrust authority’s fight against bid rigging, now in practice inflicting personal liability on the individuals involved.
In a tender relating to office equipment, OOO TIRION and OOO Company FILAKS had agreed to rig the bidding to maintain prices. The companies’ actions were in violation of Russian antitrust laws and both of the companies were fined.
In addition, taking into account the seriousness of the violation, a claim was filed by the antitrust authorities at the Moscow Commercial (Arbitrazh) Court seeking an order to disqualify the General Director (CEO) of OOO Company FILAKS from serving as CEO. The court upheld the claim and disqualified the General Director of OOO Company FILAKS for a period of one year.
“The fight against cartels is one of the priorities of the antimonopoly service. The decision of the Moscow Commercial (Arbitrazh) Court on the disqualification of a company officer for participation in cartel collusion is a precedent in the field of fighting against cartels and other anti-competitive agreements.” commented the Deputy Head of the UFAS of Moscow Region, Alexey Azarenko.
In recent years there were several cases of disqualification of state officials, but disqualification of a CEO of a legal entity is a precedent and a clear signal that the risk of individual liability has shifted from theoretical to real.