The Anti-monopoly Office recently found that by informing an external lawyer, Tesco had violated its obligation to cooperate. For this and other violations in this regard, the Anti-monopoly Office fined Tesco approximately €1.6 million. Tesco appealed. Although the appeal decision set boundaries on the Anti-monopoly Office's use of this practice, it confirms that the practice is not in contradiction of the law – especially the right to defence.
The Supreme Court recently held that a dawn raid carried out by the Competition Authority was unlawful. The court held that the authorisation to carry out the raid lacked justification and proportionality and that the scope of the raid was excessive, causing the whole raid to be unlawful. As a result the court ordered the Competition Authority – for the first time – to destroy all data obtained during the raid.
Anti-monopoly Office inspectors have recently been criticised for allowing undertakings subject to a dawn raid to call their attorneys to come to the premises in order to provide legal aid during the inspection, but expressly prohibiting them from informing their attorneys as to why they should come. This practice is arguably harmful to undertakings subject to dawn raids and breaches their basic rights – particularly the right of defence.
The Competition Authority recently presented plans for future reform to the public. According to the plans, the authority's main strategy for the near future focuses on building a modern authority with meaningful policies that will result in clear benefits to the consumer. The most significant measure by which the authority hopes to achieve these aims is a draft amendment to the Competition Act.
The Competition Authority recently adopted a new law amending the Slovakian merger regime. The new merger control regulation, in line with the EU Merger Regulation (139/2004), abandons the dominance test as the substantive test for merger clearance and adopts the substantive impediment of effective competition test. The amendment also revises the thresholds for merger review.
Merger control proceedings in Slovakia are time consuming. Even in straightforward concentrations, the parties must be prepared to face lengthy proceedings before the Competition Authority. As a result, the Slovak merger control rules constitute an inappropriate administrative burden for competitors. However, the Competition Authority is aware of the complications and is willing to amend the existing rules.
The Anti-monopoly Office of the Slovak Republic has imposed a fine of €48,373 on Natur-Pack and 14 waste collection companies for entering into an agreement that restricted competition. The Bratislava Regional Court has also rejected the action of funeral undertaking Marianum against the office's June 2008 decision. By this decision the office had imposed a fine of €237,668.46 on Marianum for abuse of its dominant position.