On 7 February 2019, the Ukrainian Parliament adopted the law amending the Law on the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine and the Law on Protection of Economic Competition to address major procedural fairness issues. It aims to ensure that Ukrainian competition law is enforced in a transparent, timely and nondiscriminatory manner, respecting the principles of procedural fairness and rights of defence in line with the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement.
Most notably, the amendments provide for the following:
- time limits for investigations into alleged violation of competition laws;
- reinforcement of certain procedural rights, in particular as regards access to file, including to non-confidential versions of the information with restricted access;
- introduction of the right to file motion for recusal of the AMC officers during the investigation;
- certain improvements to the hearings process, in particular, introducing hearings by a collegiate AMC body;
- prohibiting the AMC to rely in an investigation on the evidence to which the parties did not have access and which they could not comment on; prohibiting to rely on the evidence obtained in violation of the law and to adopt decisions in violation of the rights of defence;
- changes to the leniency proceeding, introducing reduction of fines (in addition to full immunity for the first applicant); the first company that voluntarily provided additional evidence representing significant added value may benefit from 50% reduction, second – 30%, and others – 20% reduction;
- introduction of the settlement procedure in cases regarding anticompetitive concerted practices, where the company may benefit from 20% reduction of fine if it admits the violation, cooperates with the AMC during the investigation, undertakes to terminate the violation, etc. The agreement on settlement is subject to approval by a commercial court;
- abolishing the fee for the late payment of fine; now it accrues in the amount of 1.5% of the fine daily even if the company appeals AMC decision to court (during the time periods between the court review in the first, appellate, and cassation instances).
The amendments to the law are pending signature by the President. They will become effective 3 months following its promulgation, except for provisions introducing settlement procedure, which will become effective from 1 January 2020.