On 28 November 2013, the Helsinki District Court handed down 41 judgments in the so-called asphalt cartel damages case. In 2009, the Supreme Administrative Court (“SCA”) found that Lemminkäinen Oyj, VLT-Trading Oy, Skanska Asfaltti Oy, NCC Roads Oy, SA-Capital Oy, Rudus Asfaltti Oy and Super Asfaltti Oy had participated in a cartel that operated on the Finnish asphalt market in 1994-2002. The SCA ordered the companies to pay a total of EUR 82.55 million in fines for their participation in the cartel. Following the SCA’s decision, the Finnish State and 40 local authorities filed claims before the Helsinki District Court, claiming damages from the asphalt companies and one other company for the overcharges they had paid for paving work. As regards the claims of the 40 municipalities, the District Court accepted the claims for the most part. The District Court found that the local authorities have mostly been overcharged by 15% for asphalt work; some by 20%, and ordered the companies to pay damages of altogether EUR 37.4 million (capital; the applicable interest rates increase the amount of payable damages considerably). The District Court dismissed the claim of the State as it found, based partly on new evidence, that the National Board of Public Roads and the Finnish Road Enterprise, both state agencies, had participated in the cartel from the year 1998 at least. The District Court also found that the representatives of the National Board of Public Roads had been aware of the existence of the cartel as early as in 1994. The District Court considered that no damage had been caused to the State on the basis of the activity which the State has approved at the time when it took place, which the State has participated in, and from which the State itself considers to have benefited from. The District Court ordered the State to compensate the legal costs of the companies by a total sum of EUR 2.6 million. Source: Helsinki District Court Press Release 28/11/2013
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Helsinki District Court orders asphalt companies to pay damages to Finnish municipalities
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