Monday, 13 December 2021

Press Release - Decision No 748/2021 - Ex officio investigation in the tender for the public infrastructure project “Northern Road of Crete, Gournes – Chersonissos Part”

Subject: Decision following Article 25a of Law 3959/2011 and the Hellenic Competition Commission (“HCC”) Decision No 704/2020 on the ex-officio investigation in the tender for the public infrastructure project “Northern Road of Crete, Gournes – Chersonissos Part” (“Gournes – Chersonissos”)  for possible violation of Article 1 Law 3959/2011 and Article 101 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU)


The Hellenic Competition Commission (HCC), in plenary, unanimously adopted Decision No 748/2021 according to the simplified Settlement Procedure (Article 25a of Law 3959/2011 and Decision No 704/2020) following the settlement submission by the undertaking MESOGEOS S.A.

Following the settlement procedure, the HCC imposed a reduced fine amounting to € 4,954.

Settlement Procedure

The Settlement Procedure is applicable to cases where undertakings or associations of undertakings voluntarily and unreservedly admit their participation in a cartel, in violation of Article 1 Law 3959/2011 and/or Article 101 TFEU, and facilitate thereby, the establishment of the infringement. In these cases a reduction of the fine by 15% is granted.

The purpose of the Settlement Procedure is the simplification and acceleration of the HCC decision-making process, as well as the reduction of the number of appeals against its decisions. This enables the HCC to deal with a larger number of cases with less administrative burden, thus increasing the deterrent effect of its action and, at the same time, increasing citizens' awareness.


Following an ex officio investigation in tenders for public infrastructure projects, the Directorate General for Competition conducted a dawn raid on 25.01.2017 during which a document was identified. The document evidenced the involvement of the undertaking MESOGEOS S.A. in collusion regarding a tender for a public infrastructure project, i.e. the construction of a motorway in Crete (Gournes-Chersonisos motorway).  Said tender forms part of a broader cartel of tenders for public works, which has been previously examined by the HCC and for which two decisions have been issued (HCC 642/2017 Settlement Decision and HCC 647/2017).


Relevant Market

In bid-rigging cases the point of reference for the purposes of market  definition is in fact the project affected by the cartel under investigation. Thus, in this case, the relevant product market is the project “Gournes – Chersonissos”. The relevant geographical market is defined as the whole of the Greek territory.


MESOGEIOS admitted to have participated in anti-competitive practices and more specifically a) to have agreed with other members of the cartel, prior to the submission of the financial offer, i) which joint venture would submit the winning bid, ii) which undertakings would submit cover biddings and iii) the monetary compensation for the companies submitting the cover bids and b) to have exchanged sensitive commercial information with the other cartel members. 

Fine / PenaltiesThe HCC found that MESOGEOS SA has infringed Article 1 of Law 3959/2011, as in force, and article 101 TFEU and imposed a fine of € 4,954.

The HCC granted a reduction of the fine by 15% according to its Settlement Procedure for reasons of procedural efficiency.


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