The Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine (AMCU) has imposed a fine on the company operating the network of gas stations belonging to the Privat group for anti-competitive concerted actions in setting oil prices. The fine amounted to UAH 4.7 billion, the press service of the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine reports.
Thus, on Tuesday, March 30, a fine was imposed, in particular, on VTF Avias LLC, Avias Trading House LLC, Prom Garant Plus LLC, Alliance Evolution LLC, Ukrtatnafta PJSC and 169 gas station operators (including Ukrnafta PJSC).
“During the investigation, it was established that in the field of retail trade in light petroleum products in Ukraine there is a system of cashless payments with scratch cards and Avias fuel cards. About 1,625 gas stations are involved in this project. These gas stations operate under different brands in all regions of Ukraine. In total, their number is almost 25% of the country’s gas stations. The committee determined that the Avias project is organized, coordinated and operates in order to coordinate the price and trade behavior of the participants, “the statement said.
The AMCU added that Keropur® ENERGY gasoline and diesel fuel (an exclusive brand of PJSC Ukrtatnafta) were sold throughout the network. In addition, the network immediately set the same prices, regardless of the brand of gas station and the region.
In addition, we managed to get to the “Center”, which included several businesses located at the same address in the city of Dnipro. It planned and coordinated the network’s activities in detail.
Also, it was emphasized in the AMCU, a significant number of identical contracts of purchase and sale of oil products and property, lease of gas stations, material assistance were revealed; it was found that individuals who held the positions of director, founder, signatory, accountant, manager, etc., often changed each other and worked simultaneously in several companies participating in the project.
It was established that the composition of legal entities – project participants was constantly changing (without changes in personnel). This happened through the same liquidators.
The AMCU found that gas station operators, including PJSC Ukrnafta, purchased light oil products from PJSC Ukrtatnafta at prices higher than similar imported fuel.
“Such coordinated behavior of the participants of the Avias project distorts competition between gas station operators in the market,” the AMCU stressed.
The head of the AMCU, Olga Pishchanska, stated that colossal work had been carried out in the conditions of “the AMCU’s long-standing legal confrontation with the participants in the conspiracy on the Ukrainian fuel market.”
“Despite the difficult circumstances and the huge resistance from the defendants, we have completed the investigation and made a decision,” Pishchanska stressed.
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