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A Bid-Rigging in Public Procurement Proceedings

A Bid-Rigging in Public Procurement Proceedings

Serbia
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The Serbian Competition Commission initiated an infringement investigation. On 20 April 2023, the Commission for the Protection of the Competition (“Commission”) initiated one more infringement investigation and carried out a dawn raid, this time against KTG Solucije d.o.o. Subotica (“KTG”) and Eco-Sense doo Subotica (“Eco Sense”) for possible RPM (resale price maintenance) and sharing of markets or source of supply in public procurement proceedings related to the materials and means for maintaining hygiene in facilities.

In cooperation with the Public Procurement Office, as well as based on publicly available data on the Public Procurement Portal, the Commission found out that KTG, as a bidder in several public procurement procedures, withdrawn its bids, so that the contracting authority had to conclude agreements with the second-ranked bidder Eco-Sense, but at higher prices than those offered by KTG.

In addition to withdrawing bids in certain public procurement procedures, acting in accordance with the 2022 Guidelines for the detection of rigged bids, the Commission conducted an analysis of the IP addresses (Internet Protocol addresses) from which KTG and Eco Sense accessed the Public Procurement Portal and found out that both companies almost always accessed from identical IP address, as well as from devices that were connected through the same Internet network or possibly through the same device.

The Commission characterized this behavior as a restrictive practice – a joint performance of bidders KTG and Eco Sense, which directly led to RPM and sharing of markets or source of supply i.e., to a violation of competition rules from Article 10 of the Law on Protection of Competition.

This is the first infringement investigation of the Commission regarding public procurement in the last three years, confirming our earlier articles in which it is stated that the Commission has increased its activities and continued with its focus on RPM.

By Nikola Poznanovic, Partner, and Zivko Simijonovic, Senior Associate, JPM Jankovic Popovic Mitic

JPM Partners at a Glance

We are a full service commercial law firm in Serbia, with over 30 years of successful practice in SEE region and true and lasting partnerships with our clients.

Our diverse teams of lawyers are focused on practice in specific legal areas, handling some of the most high-profile multijurisdictional matters in energy, project development, mining, foreign investments, corporate and commercial. We are highly sought-after for legal advice in creative industries, environmental law and white-collar crime, as well as intellectual property, international arbitration, labor and data protection

As an exclusive member of Lex Mundi – the world’s premiere network of leading independent law firms, we interconnect and reach globally. Regionally, we advise clients in Montenegro directly, through well established partnership with ‘JPM Montenegro Partner Vukmirovic Misic law firm’ and close working relationships with selected first-rate firms in the region. Working together with our domestic and international clients on their most significant transactions and around entry to Serbian market, allows us to operate as the perfect hub for SEE and other cross-border transactions.

Our clients operate in increasingly competitive landscape and we are identifying new methods of using legal technology, to help them increase efficiency, save time and streamline work processes - document management, billing and accounting. By adopting LUMINANCE AI platform for legal professionals, we use machine-learning for contract analyses across our practice groups, as well as eDiscovery revolutionary software to simplify operations in all forms of litigation.

With exclusive access to EQUISPHERE – Lex Mundi Innovative service model, our clients can design their own legal team by choosing the best lawyers in the relevant jurisdictions, sharing documentation and communicating with all teams at any time, from a single point of contact.

Consistently recognized as a top-tier law firm, both by clients and leading independent legal directories Chambers & Partners, Legal 500 and IFLR1000, we remain committed to delivering highest quality service to our clients and help them succeed in overcoming cross-border challenges. We remain committed to continuously share our knowledge by regularly publishing articles, giving lectures and organizing international conferences.

Firm's website: http://jpm.rs/