Ukrainian Competition Authority Imposes Record Fine for Merger without Clearance

On 20 November 2018 the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine (AMC) imposed the biggest fine in its history for implementing an M&A transaction without prior merger clearance. The fine amounts to approx. EUR 500,000 (UAH 15 million) and was imposed on Ukrainian businessman – Mr. Serhiy Kurchenko – for the acquisition of control over Ukrainian Bank "BrokeBusinessBank" back in 2013. 

Several companies acquired a total of 80% shares in BrokeBusinessBank – one of the largest Ukrainian banks at that time. It took the AMC several years and cooperation from Prosecutor General's Office of Ukraine and Security Service of Ukraine to establish that these companies were controlled by Mr. Serhiy Kurchenko. Also, reportedly, the defendant refused to cooperate and obstructed investigation by the AMC, which influenced the final amount of fine. 

While it needs to be seen what the relevant AMC decision says (when published), the amount of fine is unusually high, and the AMC likely deviated from the position it routinely takes with reference to the Guidelines on Calculation of Fines. 

Mr. Kurchenko's business is associated with the runaway ex-President of Ukraine Mr. Viktor Yanukovych. 

The highest known fine imposed by the AMC for closing without clearance in the past was around EUR 100,000; it was imposed for gun jumping discovered by the AMC during Phase II review of a transaction. 

For further information, please contact Igor Svechkar or Pavlo Verbolyuk.

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