An extract from The Public Competition Enforcement Review, 12th Edition

Cartels

The Commission issued only a few decisions regarding cartel behaviour in 2017:

  1. In January 2017, the Commission announced that, on the basis of a preliminary investigation by the Commission's Service, it has decided to initiate infringement proceedings against the Association of Contractors for Mechanical and Electrical Works of Cyprus for possible prima facie infringement of Section 3(1)(b) of the Competition Law (concerted practices that limit or control production, markets, technical development or investments) for allegedly attempting to deter its members from participating in an open tender process commissioned by the Paphos Municipality for works on the municipal market. The investigation was concluded in 2017 and the Commission imposed a fine of €2,121.
  2. In May 2017, the Commission imposed fines (totalling €31,009,766) against JCC Payment Systems Limited, Bank of Cyprus Public Limited, USB Bank plc, Alpha Bank Cyprus Ltd, Commercial Bank of Cyprus Ltd, National Bank of Greece (Cyprus) Ltd and Societe Generale Cyprus Ltd for breaches of Sections 3(1)(a) and 6(1)(a) and (b) of the Competition Law and of the corresponding Articles 101 and 102 of the TFEU in connection with:
    • the participation of credit card issuing banks as shareholders in JCC (the acquirer) in the determination of interchange fees;
    • agreements entered into between the acquirer and the banks that are not members in the capital of the acquirer for the determination of interchange fees;
    • excessive pricing in credit card charges;
    • excessive pricing in interchange fees; and
    • abusive behaviour in limiting access to the issuance and processing of Amex cards.

The Commission also imposed specific restrictions in the internal operation of JCC enterprises, which is the main credit card acquirer in Cyprus.

In November 2017, the Commission announced the imposition of a total fine of €20,775,630 against ExxonMobil Cyprus Ltd, Hellenic Petroleum Cyprus Ltd, Petrolina Holdings (Public) Ltd and Lukoil Cyprus Ltd for violation of Section 3(1)(a) of the Competition Law in connection with their individual and separate agreements with petrol station operators for fixing prices in the retail market of unleaded petrol and diesel fuel during the period from 1 October 2004 to 22 December 2006.