Why fines for Greece’s cartel scandal fall short

EPA/ORESTIS PANAGIOTOU

Labourers are working at the construction site of the light suburban rail in Athens, Thursday 18 March 2004.

Why fines for Greece’s cartel scandal fall short


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Greece’s Competition Committee has just released its much-awaited report on domestic construction companies involved in the infamous “contractors’ cartel” which involved the rigging of tenders for a series of public works, including projects co-funded by the European Union, between 1989 and 2005.

According to the report, fines worth €80m have been issued to Greek companies involved in this high-profile scam. Aktor was slapped with the biggest fine worth €38.5m

According to reports in the Greek media, the Competition Commission significantly reduced the fines – by as much as 50% – for two firms caught in the cartel. What is known is that the Commission accepted their pleas that they cannot afford to pay the hefty fines.

The Greek media has jumped on this report, alleging the government is being unfair – slashing fines for the cartel companies, but showing absolutely no empathy for small and medium-sized companies struggling to make their dues in Greece.

Another question that has yet to be answered surrounding the Competition Commission’s ruling is if it will prohibit the fined construction companies from participate in future tenders.  This is something that has yet to be addressed by the relevant government ministries.

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