The Court of Cassation upheld the claim by LLC Garant-UTN against the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine. The firm sought to invalidate the regulator’s decision in a part relating to anticompetitive concerted actions to screw the results of crude and gas condensate auction by its participants in 2015. According to Nashi Groshi (literally Our Money), this information was disclosed in the court decision as of December 17.
The Court referred to the rationale identical to the court cases against other auction participants.
“The allocation of lots on a 'territorial basis' should not be necessarily caused by the collusion between auction participants. However, it could serve as an economic basis driven by the production factors. The payment of a guarantee fee on the last day before the auction is economically feasible, with the contrary having not been proved by the Committee in previous court instances.”
In March 2017, the Antimonopoly Committee penalized six companies participating in the 2015 Ukrnafta auction ₴1.3 billion for the anticompetitive concerted actions. Among the said companies were Ukrtatnafta (₴1,003 billion), Galychyna oil processing complex (₴326.92 million), Kotlas (₴1.67 million), Galnafta LLC (₴ 667), Garant-UTN (₴40.07 million), and Prykarpattianaftotrade (₴3.33 thousand).
On October 31, the Court of Cassation declared invalid the controversial decision by the AMCU in a part relating to the fault of PJSC Ukrtatnafta and LLC Kotlas. Earlier, on October 17, the court upheld the claim by Galnafta LLC against the AMCU.
The AMCU members pointed the following arguments to recognize the fact of associated relations between the “Privat” members:
- The companies provided each other with financial assistance covering the guarantee fees to participate in the disputed auctions;
- Following the auction results, the winners purchased oil and gas condensate at the starting prices specified in their lots applications (315 oil and 10 gas condensate lots within a total of five auctions);
- Galychyna oil processing complex kept oil that was further purchased at the auctions by Prykarpattianaftotrade, Galnafta and Garant-UTN;
- The interests of three of the seven auction participants (of Kotlas, Galnafta and Prykarpattianaftotrade) were represented by one person only;
- The Director of Galnafta represented the interests of Galychyna oil processing complex at the auction as well as in the AMCU case. The said companies had the same address during the auction;
- The Member of the Board of Galychyna oil processing company also serves as the Deputy Chief Engineer at Ukrtatnafta.