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Romania: Competition Council's 2018 sanctions against UNSAR permanently removed by justice

The Romanian High Court of Cassation and Justice decided this week to upheld the reasoning of the Bucharest Court of Appeal on the annulment of the Competition Council's sanctioning decision against UNSAR - the National Union of Insurance and Reinsurance Companies of Romania.

PeliPartners assisted UNSAR in challenging the fine applied by the Competition Council through the sanctioning decision issued in 2018, in which the authority withheld the association's participation as a facilitator of an alleged anti-competitive practice of RCA tariffs. At the time, the Competition Council sanctioned UNSAR and nine MTPL insurers with total fines of approximately EUR 53 million for violating the law by allegedly coordinating market behavior in order to increase tariffs on compulsory liability insurance (MTPL).

In March 2021 a partial annulment was decided by the Bucharest Court of Appeal of the sanctioning decision, the court of first instance establishing that there was no UNSAR intention to contribute to an alleged concerted action of its members. Although the Competition Council filed an appeal, the High Court of Cassation and Justice upheld the reasoning of the Bucharest Court of Appeal, rejecting the authority's request as unfounded.

"The decisions of the courts in this case are extremely important, validating that the organization of meetings between members or between members and regulators is a completely legitimate activity of any business association that aims to support the interests of members and the market in which it operates.

Moreover, they confirm that the simple administrative and secretarial role of a professional association is a legitimate activity, which cannot be framed as a facilitation of an alleged anti-competitive practice ", explained Carmen Peli, Partner of PeliPartners.

The annulment of the fine confirms that UNSAR had a legitimate conduct and that it is a reliable partner for companies and state authorities.

Author: Daniela GHETU on 30.06.2022

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