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Spain extends investigation into possible bid-rigging on MoD contracts

Spain's Markets and Competition Authority has extended an investigation into potential bid-rigging among companies vying for Ministry of Defence (MoD) contracts.

The probe is looking into “bid-rigging and sharing contracts related to the supply, maintenance, and upgrade of military equipment, especially military vehicles”, said the Comision Nacional de los Mercados y La Competencia (CNMC).

In a 10 November statement, the CNMC said it had carried out new inspections at the headquarters of several companies the previous week, following up on a series made in June.

“At that time, the commission carried out a first round of inspections at a number of companies' headquarters, in conjunction with regional competition authorities,” it said.

“Inspections are a preliminary step in an investigation into suspected anti-competitive practices and [do] not mean that the companies are guilty of anti-competitive behaviour, nor [do they] prejudge the outcome of the investigation itself.

“If ... there are indications of practices prohibited by Spain's anti-trust law [the Ley de Defensa de la Competencia] and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, formal disciplinary proceedings will be initiated,” the statement said.

The CNMC said that agreements between competitors are “a serious infringement of anti-trust law, which could result in fines of up to 10% of the value of the relevant sales of the companies involved”.

“Investigating cartels is one of the CNMC's top priorities, given the serious consequences they can have on consumers and on the proper functioning of the markets,” the CNMC added.

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