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The Slovenian response to the Agrokor crisis - "Lex Mercator" The Slovenian response to the Agrokor crisis - "Lex Mercator" | News | Karanović & Nikolić https://www.karanovic-nikolic.com/knnews/Pages/2017/04/26/The-Slovenian-response-to-the-Agrokor-crisis---Lex-Mercator.aspxThe Slovenian response to the Agrokor crisis - "Lex Mercator" The Slovenian response to the Agrokor crisis - "Lex Mercator" | News | Karanović & Nikolić string;#26/04/2017<p>The turmoil within the Croatian retail company Agrokor, which owns Mercator, the largest Slovenian retailer, caused a significant stir in the Slovenian public, with the suppliers and especially in politics. The response of the Slovenian Government – with which additional measures for the protection of Mercator as a company of systemic importance are being established is also the Act on Conditions of Appointment of Associate Member of the Management Board in the Companies of Systemic Importance for the Republic of Slovenia. The Act was adopted by the Parliament on the 25<sup>th</sup> of<sup> </sup>April, 2017. It will become valid immediately on the day following its adoption. </p><p>The goal of the Act, commonly referred to as <em>Lex Mercator</em>, is to define companies of systemic importance for the Republic of Slovenia and to enable the appointment of a temporary associate member of the management board, if the majority shareholder of such company is in insolvency or other substantially similar procedures intended for the elimination of reasons for insolvency. In case such procedures exist, the Slovenian Government has the ability to use a state interventionist measure – the appointment of an associate member. The Act also presents a major exception to the rules on instructions to the subsidiary in contractual and actual corporate groups known to corporate law. </p><h2>Mercator as the company of systemic importance</h2><p>The Act defines a company of systemic importance as a company which: (i) employs at least 6,000 people in the territory of the Republic of Slovenia; and, (ii) its sales revenue exceeds EUR 1 billion. The majority shareholder is defined by the Act as a person/entity which holds, together with its related companies, a shareholding exceeding 50% or the majority of voting rights. Credit institutions and insurance companies are excluded from the applicability of the Act. </p><p>Pursuant to the analysis of the above mentioned conditions, and the Slovenian corporate environment, it turns out that Mercator is the only company for which the newly adopted Act will be applicable. </p><h2>What does the Act bring?</h2><p>The Government has an explicit right, but not an obligation, to propose to the District court in Ljubljana, to appoint an associate member of the management board of the company of systemic importance. The court must appoint the associate member within three days from receiving such request. The associate member has limited authority, since it only represents the company jointly with other board members in matters related to the majority shareholder. In case the associate member does not provide its consent for an individual transaction between the company and the majority shareholder, such transaction is null and void. The associate member does not have the authority to decide on the matters of day-to-day business operations which remain in the sphere of the "regular" board members. The associate member is liable for damages for its actions in relation to its authority. </p><p>The Act explicitly provides that, after the appointment of the associate member, general corporate regulation of corporate groups concerning the instructions by the mother company is not applicable for the company of systemic importance. Consequently, the management board can refuse the fulfilment of harmful instructions by the mother company. </p><h2>Consequences for creditors and suppliers</h2><p>The Act does not provide for any specific consequences for creditors and suppliers. Day-to-day business transactions, which are not related to the majority shareholder, will be normally conducted and managed by "regular" board members. Consent of the associate member is not needed in such cases. </p><p>Even though the intention of the Slovenian Government is to prevent any depletion of the company of systemic importance (i.e. Mercator) - which is generally favourable for the creditors, it is doubtful whether the Government had to regulate this with a new legal act. Namely, the existing corporate law regulates the question of harmful instructions and monetary compensations. It remains to be seen whether the Act will actually provide an additional safeguard against potential depletion.</p><p><span class="ms-rteStyle-Quote">Information provided in this document does not represent any legal advice, or advice of any kind with respect to certain matter, but is intended for general informative purpose only.</span></p><p>Slovenian version</p>
Antitrust Fine Imposed on Producers of Cooking Oil in Serbia Antitrust Fine Imposed on Producers of Cooking Oil in Serbia | News | Karanović & Nikolić https://www.karanovic-nikolic.com/knnews/Pages/2017/04/24/Antitrust-Fine-Imposed-on-Producers-of-Cooking-Oil-in-Serbia.aspxAntitrust Fine Imposed on Producers of Cooking Oil in Serbia Antitrust Fine Imposed on Producers of Cooking Oil in Serbia | News | Karanović & Nikolić string;#24/04/2017<p>Competition authority imposes fines on ViktoriaOil and Vital, the leading producers of cooking oil in Serbia. The authority stated in its decision that the two companies entered into a joint production agreement that featured restrictive provisions. In particular, the authority claims that the provisions effected the exchange of information and joint production and sales in a way that led to increased prices to end consumers. The authority has engaged in a detailed analysis of the effects on price using regression analysis and other econometric tools on this market with perfect substitutes.</p><p>VictoriaOil and Vital are fined approximately EUR 186,297 and EUR 64,799, respectively, which amounts to 0.33% of the total annual turnover realised in Serbia in 2014 by each of the companies. The two companies will now have the opportunity to challenge the Competition Commission's decision before the Administrative court - acting as the second instance court in anti-trust cases. </p><p>As a reminder, in accordance with Article 10 of the Serbian Competition Law, restrictive agreements are agreements between undertakings, which have as their object or effect the significant prevention, restriction or distortion of competition within the territory of the Republic of Serbia. Restrictive agreements can take various forms, written and oral, and may yield fines of up to 10% of the turnover realised on the Serbian market in the year preceding the initiation of proceedings.</p><p><em class="ms-rteStyle-Quote">The information in this document does not constitute legal advice on any particular matter and is provided for general informational purposes only.</em></p>
Macedonian Competition Commission Further Strengthens its Leniency Policy Macedonian Competition Commission Further Strengthens its Leniency Policy | News | Karanović & Nikolić https://www.karanovic-nikolic.com/knnews/Pages/2017/03/30/Macedonian-Competition-Commission-Further-Strengthen-its-Leniency-Policy.aspxMacedonian Competition Commission Further Strengthens its Leniency Policy Macedonian Competition Commission Further Strengthens its Leniency Policy | News | Karanović & Nikolić string;#30/03/2017<p style="text-align:left;">For several years now, a leniency model exists in Macedonia and it is shaped in line with the EU leniency model. Nevertheless, the <a href="http://www.kzk.gov.mk/eng/">Macedonian Competition Commission</a> ("<strong>Commission</strong>") decided to refine the existing rules (contained in the Law on Protection of Competition and the accompanying Leniency Regulation) by recently adopting the Leniency Guidelines ("<strong>Guidelines</strong>"). </p><p style="text-align:left;">The companies that have taken part in illegal cartels may benefit from full or partial immunity from fines, under the leniency model, and the Guidelines should make this process more transparent and predictable. It is extremely important that the companies act swiftly, as delayed reactions can potentially be very detrimental.</p><p style="text-align:left;">Through the adoption of the recent Guidelines, the Commission introduced several novelties that should facilitate the process of reporting anti-competitive behaviour. The new Guidelines represent a step towards building an effective leniency policy in Macedonia.</p><h2>What is new? </h2><p style="text-align:left;">The Guidelines urge those involved to contact the Misdemeanour Commission before submitting a leniency application. The applications are assessed by the Misdemeanour Commission, which operates within the Commission, as the authority charged with potentially awarding full immunity from a fine, or a fine reduction - as the case may be. In order to protect the identity and establish much needed trust in the communication, the Misdemeanour Commission will not disclose the identity of the applicant if there is no reward granted. Additionally (and quite conveniently), applicants can approach the Misdemeanour Commission directly, or through a legal adviser, and present the case on hypothetical terms.</p><p style="text-align:left;">Another novelty is the possibility of an electronic submission to the dedicated email address of the Commission. In such a case, the hard-copy version of the application needs to be submitted to the Commission within three days. If the application is submitted through a registered mailing address, the Commission recommends that the applicant inserts in the envelope the exact time when the application was sent. The Guidelines also deal with the details for the submission of oral applications.</p><h2 style="text-align:left;"><strong>Book your reservations</strong></h2><p style="text-align:left;">Interested parties can apply beforehand for a marker which will hold their place in the queue for obtaining immunity. This should enable applicants to gather the necessary information and evidence, and to file an official leniency application. The marker is valid for a set period of time, but if there are well-grounded reasons, the applicant can request an extension to the deadline for submitting the application.   </p><p style="text-align:left;">Potential leniency applicants should also note that the Misdemeanour Commission will not accept a leniency application submitted by, or on behalf of, two or more undertakings that participate in the same cartel thus joint applications are not possible. Therefore, in case a company has any reason to suspect that it is involved in anti-competitive behaviour, it should act expeditiously, directly or through a legal advisor, in approaching the Commission; otherwise, any action taken at a later date can potentially result in severe penalties.</p><p style="text-align:left;">The Guidelines are publically available (in Macedonian language only) at: <a href="http://www.kzk.gov.mk/images/Vestiimages/1616/%d0%9f%d0%a0%d0%95%d0%97%d0%95%d0%9c%d0%98.pdf"><span lang="EN-GB" style="text-decoration:underline;">http://www.kzk.gov.mk/images/Vestiimages/1616/%D0%9F%D0%A0%D0%95%D0%97%D0%95%D0%9C%D0%98.pdf</span></a> </p><p style="text-align:left;"><em class="ms-rteStyle-Quote">This information has been prepared by local lawyers in cooperation with Karanović&Nikolić. It does not constitute legal advice on any particular matter and is provided for general informational purposes only.</em></p>
Dawn Raid in Montenegro Dawn Raid in Montenegro | News | Karanović & Nikolić https://www.karanovic-nikolic.com/knnews/Pages/2017/03/23/Dawn-Raid-in-Montenegro.aspxDawn Raid in Montenegro Dawn Raid in Montenegro | News | Karanović & Nikolić string;#23/03/2017<p style="text-align:left;">In March 2017, the <a href="http://www.azzk.me/1/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=76&Itemid=93&lang=en">Montenegrin Agency for the Protection of Competition</a> carried out an unannounced inspection (dawn raid) at the business premises of Sava Trans d.o.o. Cetinje, a company engaged in freight transport, in order to collect data necessary for undertaking further actions carried out by the Agency. In its public statement, the Agency stated that the dawn raid was conducted fully in line with the Law on the Protection of Competition, whereas the raided company showed a high degree of cooperation.</p><p style="text-align:left;">Dawn raids are unannounced inspections of companies by the competition authority for suspected competition law infringements. The Law on the Protection of Competition provides the Agency with wide-ranging powers of investigation when conducting dawn raids, including, <em>inter alia</em>, unannounced inspection of business premises, documents, vehicles, copying or seizure of business related documentation, such as the agreements, minutes from the meetings, e-mails and other business correspondence, etc.</p><p style="text-align:left;">Dawn raids in Montenegro have been very rarely carried out by the Agency in the past. However, following dawn raids conducted by competition authorities in the region in the past couple of years, in particular by the Croatian, Bosnian, Serbian and Slovenian competition authorities, the Montenegrin Agency has clearly decided to start using this effective investigation tool in order to determine whether there are potential infringements on market competition. Having in mind that the dawn raids conducted in the region proved to be very successful and useful for gathering evidence of anti-trust behaviour, we expect that antitrust officials' "unannounced visits" will be used more often by the Montenegrin Competition Agency in the days to come.</p><p style="text-align:left;"><span class="ms-rteStyle-Quote">The information in this document does not constitute legal advice on any particular matter and is provided for general informational purposes only.</span></p>
Networking: Cable Operator Merger Conditionally Cleared by the Competition Commission Networking: Cable Operator Merger Conditionally Cleared by the Competition Commission | News | Karanović & Nikolić https://www.karanovic-nikolic.com/knnews/Pages/2017/03/22/Networking--Cable-Operator-Merger-Conditionally-Cleared-by-the-Competition-Commission.aspxNetworking: Cable Operator Merger Conditionally Cleared by the Competition Commission Networking: Cable Operator Merger Conditionally Cleared by the Competition Commission | News | Karanović & Nikolić string;#22/03/2017<p>​Following a four month-long Phase II investigation, the Serbian Competition Commission granted conditional clearance to SBB's takeover of IKOM. This consolidation of leading cable operators in Belgrade represents a landmark case for the Serbian authority and is related to global trends in consolidation of cable network operators, which fosters the investments necessary for improvements to network infrastructure and competition with IPTV, OTT and satellite content providers. The merger provided an opportunity for the Commission to investigate the workings of the Serbian telecom sector in detail, especially in relation to fixed telephony, broadband Internet and the distribution of media content. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">SBB is the leading Serbian private telecom operator, provider of digital and analogue cable television, broadband Internet and fixed telephony. The company is a part of the regional United Group, active across former Yugoslavia. Since 2014, United Group is majority-owned by the global investment fund KKR. IKOM is one of the major cable operators in Serbia, active on the market for ten years, providing digital and analogue cable television, broadband Internet and fixed telephony to subscribers predominantly located in Serbia's capital, Belgrade.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">In the final decision, SBB has obliged to divest network infrastructure overlapping with IKOM, report to the Commission on pricing changes and offer IKOM's subscribers specific commercial terms for future cooperation.</p><p>Karanović & Nikolić was honoured to support SBB during the challenges of the merger control procedure. The team was led by Mr. <span lang="EN-GB" style="text-decoration:underline;">Rastko Petaković</span>, Managing Partner, Mr. <span lang="EN-GB" style="text-decoration:underline;">Bojan Vučković</span>, Partner and Mr. <span lang="EN-GB" style="text-decoration:underline;">Veljko </span><span lang="EN-GB" style="text-decoration:underline;"></span><span lang="EN-GB" style="text-decoration:underline;">Smiljani</span><span lang="SR-LATN-RS" style="text-decoration:underline;">ć</span>, attorney at law in cooperation with Karanović & Nikolić.</p>
Gorenje Zagreb Fined for Resale Price Maintenance Gorenje Zagreb Fined for Resale Price Maintenance | News | Karanović & Nikolić https://www.karanovic-nikolic.com/knnews/Pages/2017/03/20/Gorenje-Zagreb-Fined-for-Resale-Price-Maintenance.aspxGorenje Zagreb Fined for Resale Price Maintenance Gorenje Zagreb Fined for Resale Price Maintenance | News | Karanović & Nikolić string;#20/03/2017<p>​Resale price maintenance and price-fixing has been and still is under scrutiny by the Croatian Competition Agency (the "<strong>Agency</strong>"). Carrying on from a number of high-profile cases, in February 2017 the Agency fined Gorenje Zagreb, a subsidiary of Slovenia's premier manufacturer of household appliances for HRK 1,557,000 (approximately EUR 206,000).</p><p>The Agency determined that Gorenje Zagreb infringed competition laws for a significant period of time by pressuring resellers to abide by fixed or minimum resale prices. The Agency especially condemned Gorenje Zagreb's general terms, which included the problematic direct and/or indirect price-fixing provisions, a price monitoring system (wherein the company supervised whether its resellers followed instructions), and rebate incentives to follow the price policy. </p><p>During the course of the investigation, the Agency conducted dawn raids in the premises of Gorenje Zagreb, which resulted in the discovery of evidence that Gorenje Zagreb had indeed pressured the retailers and required them to unconditionally accept its pricing policy. In addition, the company also refused to supply the non-complying resellers, in order to discipline the entire network.</p><p>An interesting takeaway from this decision is that the Agency considered the resellers as the weaker parties to these agreements, and therefore did not fine them for anti-competitive behaviour, effectively conducting the proceedings as an informal dominance abuse case. Furthermore, the Agency did not accept commitments offered by Gorenje Zagreb. Even though the Agency has been generally willing to consider allowing the infringing undertakings to unilaterally remedy their problematic behaviour, the materiality of the competition infringement, as well as its duration precluded Gorenje Zagreb from being offered such an opportunity herein.</p><p><span class="ms-rteStyle-Quote">This information has been prepared by local lawyers in cooperation with Karanović&Nikolić. It does not constitute legal advice on any particular matter and is provided for general informational purposes only.</span></p>
Karanović & Nikolić wins the award for Law firm of the year in Eastern Europe and the Balkans by The Lawyer Karanović & Nikolić wins the award for Law firm of the year in Eastern Europe and the Balkans by The Lawyer | News | Karanović & Nikolić https://www.karanovic-nikolic.com/knnews/Pages/2017/03/17/Karanović--Nikolić-wins-the-award-for-Law-firm-of-the-year-in-Eastern-Europe-and-the-Balkans-by-The-Lawyer.aspxKaranović & Nikolić wins the award for Law firm of the year in Eastern Europe and the Balkans by The Lawyer Karanović & Nikolić wins the award for Law firm of the year in Eastern Europe and the Balkans by The Lawyer | News | Karanović & Nikolić string;#17/03/2017<p>The Lawyer Magazine, a weekly British magazine for top Commercial Lawyers and In-House Counsel, has named Karanović & Nikolić law firm of the year for Eastern Europe and the Balkans during their annual European Awards ceremony on March 16, 2017 in London. The awards, now in their eighth year, were the first initiative of their kind to reward and celebrate excellence across the European legal market. This year the Awards focused on and recognised the growing importance of cross-border instructions to firms across the continent.<br><br>Despite the challenging environment surrounding us the Lawyer has recognised the firm for its innovation, commitment to professionalism and investment in its people.<br> <br>Managing Partner Rastko Petaković noted when receiving the award: "Ceremonies like this make all the difference. Back home, our colleagues are working day in and day out, 365 days a year, so the award comes as a bit of a happy ending, wind at all of their backs after a year of hard work and dedication. Congratulations to all the winners and kudos to The Lawyer for organising such an amazing event"<br> <br>Our thanks go to everyone within the firm who continue to work hard to make this possible and to our clients who trust us to support them in what they do.<br><br>For more information click <a href="http://www.thelawyereuropeanevent.com/winners2017"><span style="text-decoration:underline;">here</span></a>.​</p>
New Serbian Data Protection Law in 2017? New Serbian Data Protection Law in 2017? | News | Karanović & Nikolić https://www.karanovic-nikolic.com/knnews/Pages/2017/03/10/New-Serbian-Data-Protection-Law-in-2017.aspxNew Serbian Data Protection Law in 2017? New Serbian Data Protection Law in 2017? | News | Karanović & Nikolić string;#10/03/2017<p style="text-align:left;">After having prepared the first draft of the new data protection law back in 2014 (which was ignored by the Government in the meantime, and even dismissed by the Ministry of Justice's introduction of a separate draft law in 2015), the Serbian Data Protection Commissioner ("<strong>Commissionaire</strong>")<span lang="EN-GB"><sup>1</sup></span> published the second draft of the new law on March 6<sup>th</sup>, 2017 ("<strong>Draft</strong>"). As announced by the Commissioner, the new Draft was necessary in order to address the deficiencies of the existing Law on Personal Data Protection and in order to harmonize the law with EU legislation, particularly with the newly enacted General Data Protection Regulation.</p><p style="text-align:left;">The Draft's key improvements include the liberalisation of data transfer to non-European countries – which wouldn't exclusively depend on the Commissioner's approval anymore (but on other alternatives as well, such as the individual's written consent or the fact that country of data destination is on the EU list of safe countries), as well as the recognition of data processing consent provided in alternative forms rather than solely the written one (e.g. the implied consent, clicking "I agree" or ticking the box online, etc.).</p><p style="text-align:left;">Additionally, the Draft makes a clear distinction between the general obligations and the ones prescribed only for companies engaged in more serious data processing activities (i.e. the ones processing sensitive personal data or data pertaining to over 250 individuals). Unlike other companies, these "major" data controllers are also required to keep the records of their personal databases and register them before the Commissionaire, adopt an internal act regulating data protection, appoint a data protection officer who passed a professional exam (or engage a third-party licensed to perform data protection activities), notify the Commissionaire (and sometimes the data subjects) of any data security breaches, etc. </p><p style="text-align:left;">The Draft also regulates certain specific and sensitive matters for the first time, such as the processing of biometric data and video surveillance, which should prevent further expansion of irregularities currently present in these areas. </p><p style="text-align:left;">Finally, instead of the existing law or the new Draft, it seems that the new Law on the General Administrative Procedure (applicable as of June 2017) will be the act finally enabling the Commissionaire to effectively enforce his decisions, by threatening the companies with "real" fines of up to 10% of their annual income in Serbia in case they fail to comply (the current limit being approx. EUR 160 per fine). It will be interesting to see whether the Commissionaire will use this opportunity in practice, as it may result in a very hot summer for some companies. </p><p style="text-align:left;">For an initial version, the Draft does indeed seem promising. Hopefully the Government will recognize the Commissionaire's efforts this time and give the Draft proper consideration, as a bit of legal certainty would go a long way for data protection standards in Serbia.</p><p style="text-align:left;"> </p><p style="text-align:left;"><sup>1</sup> Full name of the authority: Commissioner for Information of Public Importance and Personal Data Protection</p><p style="text-align:left;"><span class="ms-rteStyle-Quote"></span> </p><p style="text-align:left;"><span class="ms-rteStyle-Quote">The information in this document does not constitute legal advice on any particular matter and is provided for general informational purposes only.</span></p>
Karanović & Nikolić supports EFSE extension of investment portfolio Karanović & Nikolić supports EFSE extension of investment portfolio | News | Karanović & Nikolić https://www.karanovic-nikolic.com/knnews/Pages/2017/03/09/Karanović--Nikolić-supports-EFSE-extension-of-investment-portfolio.aspxKaranović & Nikolić supports EFSE extension of investment portfolio Karanović & Nikolić supports EFSE extension of investment portfolio | News | Karanović & Nikolić string;#09/03/2017<p><em>We are pleased to announce that Karanović & Nikolić team has supported the European Fund for Southeast Europe (EFSE) in a recently closed extension of the investment portfolio of EFSE to UniCredit Bank Serbia. The transaction involved new EUR 20 million financing of UniCredit Bank Serbia, which will serve to finance housing loans for private households in Serbia. </em></p><p><em>Our work included the provision of legal advice to the lender in connection to the financing of the project.</em></p><p><em>Partner Maja Jovančević Šetka and </em><em>attorney at law in cooperation with Karanović & Nikolić</em><em> Ivona Vučković</em><em>, Senior Associate,</em><em> lead the Karanović & Nikolić team in both transactions.</em></p>
Termination due to actions of employee constituting criminal act Termination due to actions of employee constituting criminal act | News | Karanović & Nikolić https://www.karanovic-nikolic.com/knnews/Pages/2017/03/08/Termination-due-to-actions-of-employee-constituting-criminal-act.aspxTermination due to actions of employee constituting criminal act Termination due to actions of employee constituting criminal act | News | Karanović & Nikolić string;#08/03/2017<p>​Amending the Labour law in July 2014 raised some arguable and sensitive issues regarding termination of the employment contract when employee's behaviour represents criminal act. In fact, it was the employer who decided if an employee's behaviour represent a criminal act. This is why the Constitutional Court found it important to define (i) if an employer competent and authorized to decide if certain behaviour is a criminal act and (ii) if termination on this ground is in breach of the presumption of innocence.</p><p>The Constitutional Court reasoned that this provision of the Labour Law essentially awards the employer with court's competences, because the employer determines if certain behaviour represent a criminal act. In the other words, the Constitutional Court considers that this was in breach the constitutional guaranties of the right to due process, legal certainty and the rule of law. </p><p>Given that the Constitutional Court published its decision 24 February 2017, it was then that the unconstitutional provisions ceased to be effective. This means that this provision is no longer applicable in any way.</p><p>This decision will have a strong impact to all pending labour disputes dealing with annulment of termination on the ground of the now unconstitutional provision of the Labour Law. According to some recent court practice, if the courts found that termination reasons are not in accordance with the law, they wold re-evaluate the employee's conduct prior to termination in order to check if there may have been other grounds for termination. However, this court practice is still far from being common, so it is unclear if the courts will engage in this review of employee's conduct in situations when the only reason for termination was formed under the now-unconstitutional provision.   </p><p>Additionally, this decision of the Constitutional Court will also affect disputes already terminated. In cases when a provision of the law is found to be unconstitutional, employees have right to request from the employer to amend that specific resolution rendered on basis of an unconstitutional provision of the law. This can be done within the six months from the date of publishing the decision, i.e. until 24 August 2017, but only if such resolution was received less than two years from the day the unconstitutionality of a provision is published (in this case 24 February 2015). In case the employer refuses to amend resolution based on unconstitutional provision, employee could file a claim before the court requesting annulment of the unconstitutional resolution and damage compensation. However, in case the employee's request or claim is finally rejected, the employee has the right to challenge this via the procedure upon constitutional claim, where the Constitutional Court has the right to order <em>restitutio in integrum, </em>damage compensation or rectifying the consequences in some other way. </p><p>Employers should keep in mind that rulebooks and employment contracts should be amended in order to be compliant with the decision of the Constitutional Court.  </p><p>In any event, employers may wish to review pending litigations as well as all terminations in the past two years to see if there have been terminations on the basis of the now-unconstitutional provision (employee's behaviour which represented a criminal act), in order to mitigate potential negative effects.</p><p><span class="ms-rteStyle-Quote"><span lang="EN-GB" style="font-family:"times new roman",serif;font-size:9pt;">This has been prepared for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. You should not act upon any information presented in this document without first seeking qualified professional counsel on your specific matter.</span></span></p>
Karanović & Nikolić employment team contributes to the Shepherd and Wedderburn’s European Employment Law Update for 2017 Karanović & Nikolić employment team contributes to the Shepherd and Wedderburn’s European Employment Law Update for 2017 | News | Karanović & Nikolić https://www.karanovic-nikolic.com/knnews/Pages/2017/02/27/Karanović--Nikolić-employment-team-contributes-to-the-Shepherd-and-Wedderburn’s-European-Employment.aspxKaranović & Nikolić employment team contributes to the Shepherd and Wedderburn’s European Employment Law Update for 2017 Karanović & Nikolić employment team contributes to the Shepherd and Wedderburn’s European Employment Law Update for 2017 | News | Karanović & Nikolić string;#27/02/2017<p>​Karanović & Nikolić employment team has assisted Shepherd and Wedderburn in the development of The European Employment Law Update for 2017.</p><p>European Employment Law Update for 2017 provides an overview of the vital reforms being introduced to European employment law over the next year, including areas such as seconding employees, increased protections for whistleblowers, and legislation changes related to increased work-life balance. Key considerations related to traditional employment areas such as increases to the minimum wage and unfair dismissal are also assessed.</p><p>Lawyers cooperating with Karanović & Nikolić have contributed with the latest Employment Law matters and legislative changes in relation to Southeast Europe region. More specifically, contributions were made with summaries in regards to New Labour Laws in Bosnia and Herzegovina, new Collective Bargaining Energy Agreement, accession to Geneva Convention and new Law on Whistleblowers' Protection in Macedonia, an adoption of the General Collective Agreement, amendment to the Branch Collective Agreement for the Construction and Building Materials Industry and Law on foreigners in Montenegro. Moreover, we reviewed new Branch Collective Bargaining Agreement, New Law on Conditions for Secondment of Employees Abroad and the minimum salary amendment in Serbia and establishment of employment relationship in the case of a civil law contract in Slovenia.</p><p>Karanović & Nikolić head of the Employment Practice, Milena Papac comments: "We are thrilled to contribute to the European Employment Law Update. This opportunity allow us to inform the business sector in relation to the legislative developments of Employment Law in the Balkan region and to reiterate our position as respected regional legal powerhouse in the Balkan Region".</p><p>The European Employment Law Update can be downloaded <a href="http://shepwedd.com/knowledge/european-employment-law-update"><span lang="EN-GB" style="text-decoration:underline;"><strong>here</strong></span></a>.</p>
Karanović & Nikolić shortlisted for IFLR’s “Deal of the Year” Karanović & Nikolić shortlisted for IFLR’s “Deal of the Year” | News | Karanović & Nikolić https://www.karanovic-nikolic.com/knnews/Pages/2017/02/27/Karanović--Nikolić-shortlisted-for-IFLR’s-“Deal-of-the-Year”.aspxKaranović & Nikolić shortlisted for IFLR’s “Deal of the Year” Karanović & Nikolić shortlisted for IFLR’s “Deal of the Year” | News | Karanović & Nikolić string;#27/02/2017<p>Karanović & Nikolić is pleased to announce that we, in cooperation with local lawyers, have been shortlisted by IFLR for "Deal of the Year" within the Project Finance category for our assistance in the SASA mine refinancing project in Macedonia.</p><p>Together with colleagues from Mayer Brown LLP, we assisted a group of lenders consisted of Societe Generale, London Branch, Investec Bank PLC and Ohridska Banka AD Skopje on the transaction for financing the SASA mine. Local qualified lawyers, in cooperation with Karanović&Nikolić, acting as local adviser, provided full legal support which included preparation of a limited due diligence report, review of financial documents, drafting and execution of security documents, as well as providing advice on all matters related to the transaction.</p><p>IFLR's awards are perceived as rewarding recognition for the industry leaders and their contribution to the legal innovation in international finance. It is an honor to be shortlisted among renowned global law institutions for the work done in this sector. </p><p>For a number of years, Karanović & Nikolić have been involved in many of the largest and most complex transactions in the region and will continue to offer sector specific coverage to investors.</p><p>The IFLR European Awards will be announced at the awards ceremony which will take place on Thursday, April 20th at the Savoy Hotel, London.</p>
New Senior Partners Announced New Senior Partners Announced | News | Karanović & Nikolić https://www.karanovic-nikolic.com/knnews/Pages/2017/01/19/New-Senior-Partners-Announced.aspxNew Senior Partners Announced New Senior Partners Announced | News | Karanović & Nikolić string;#19/01/2017<p>​Karanović & Nikolić is pleased and proud to announce the promotion of a new generation of Senior Partners - <a href="/_layouts/15/FIXUPREDIRECT.ASPX?WebId=de941175-f8d4-4a41-8207-c9aec3e1e3b2&TermSetId=9c3dd502-4f62-4d66-9ef2-684258a8f9ed&TermId=3cf2a511-d713-4ca8-81ba-7b5f7f985a83">Milan Lazić</a>, <a href="/_layouts/15/FIXUPREDIRECT.ASPX?WebId=de941175-f8d4-4a41-8207-c9aec3e1e3b2&TermSetId=9c3dd502-4f62-4d66-9ef2-684258a8f9ed&TermId=b9c33da1-0e77-43ca-a753-26fb5f08a9c3">Marjan Poljak</a> and <a href="/_layouts/15/FIXUPREDIRECT.ASPX?WebId=de941175-f8d4-4a41-8207-c9aec3e1e3b2&TermSetId=9c3dd502-4f62-4d66-9ef2-684258a8f9ed&TermId=2bde9f18-b87d-4a22-82b7-d580b4199f91">Darko Jovanović</a>.</p><p><a href="/_layouts/15/FIXUPREDIRECT.ASPX?WebId=de941175-f8d4-4a41-8207-c9aec3e1e3b2&TermSetId=9c3dd502-4f62-4d66-9ef2-684258a8f9ed&TermId=3cf2a511-d713-4ca8-81ba-7b5f7f985a83">Milan Lazić</a> joined the firm as an Associate in 2007 after having spent three years at the Commercial Court in Belgrade. The combination of his outstanding legal skills, responsiveness and professional manner paved the way for his quick rise in the litigation team ranks. In 2009, he was promoted to Senior Associate. In 2010, Milan became the head of the Dispute Resolution team; a role he very successfully managed. Two years later, in 2012, Milan made Partner.<br> Highlights of his professional career include representing clients in high-profile international court cases as well as in a number of major international arbitration cases before the ICSID, ICC and UNCITRAL arbitrations, and arbitrations before the local Foreign Trade Court of Arbitration in connection with the Serbian Chamber of Commerce.</p><p><strong><a href="/_layouts/15/FIXUPREDIRECT.ASPX?WebId=de941175-f8d4-4a41-8207-c9aec3e1e3b2&TermSetId=9c3dd502-4f62-4d66-9ef2-684258a8f9ed&TermId=b9c33da1-0e77-43ca-a753-26fb5f08a9c3">Marjan Poljak</a></strong> joined the firm in 2009 as a Senior Associate. By then he had already had over five years of experience as a legal practitioner. He initially joined the Corporate team in 2009, but shortly after started working with the IP team where he focused on IP related rights. His highly entrepreneurial mind quickly led him to develop an entirely new practice. Marjan is recognised for his outstanding ability to develop new business and for his ability to successfully lead and nurture a top team of professionals. He was promoted to Partner in 2012.  </p><p>Apart from his extensive involvement in transactional and general corporate work, Marjan is also specialised in different specific areas of law including IT, healthcare & pharmaceuticals, data protection and public procurement.</p><p><strong><a href="/_layouts/15/FIXUPREDIRECT.ASPX?WebId=de941175-f8d4-4a41-8207-c9aec3e1e3b2&TermSetId=9c3dd502-4f62-4d66-9ef2-684258a8f9ed&TermId=2bde9f18-b87d-4a22-82b7-d580b4199f91">Darko Jovanović</a></strong> joined the firm in 2004 directly from the Law Faculty and was quickly deployed to work on various privatisation projects that were taking place at the time. He was promoted to Associate in 2007, Senior Associate in 2008, and was made Partner and the head of the Banking and Finance team in early 2010. </p><p>Darko is recognised for having proactively shaped the emerging trend of NPLs and PPPs in the market and has assisted in the realisation of large-scale infrastructure projects in the region. Darko specialises in all aspects of banking and finance, including project finance, NPLs, restructuring and refinancing and derivatives trading.</p><p>Rastko Petaković, Managing Partner, comments: "<span lang="EN-GB">Here at Karanović & Nikolić we get excited each time we have the opportunity to share news regarding our colleagues’ achievements and successes. Now is one of those exciting moments for three of our colleagues have been promoted to senior partner. We are privileged to have Milan, Marjan and Darko on board, not only because of their professional achievements, but also for their strength of character. We are very much looking forward to engaging their experience, skills and abilities in their new position to help us all take the firm to the next level.</span>"</p><p>For more information please contact Alexandra Yoshida,<br> <a href="mailto:alexandra.yoshida@karanovic-nikolic.com">alexandra.yoshida@karanovic-nikolic.com</a>, on +381 11 3094 200. </p><p><br> </p><p> </p><p> </p>
BiH - General information on the Law on Prohibited Advertising BiH - General information on the Law on Prohibited Advertising | News | Karanović & Nikolić https://www.karanovic-nikolic.com/knnews/Pages/2017/01/13/General-information-on-the-Law-on-Prohibited-Advertising.aspxBiH - General information on the Law on Prohibited Advertising BiH - General information on the Law on Prohibited Advertising | News | Karanović & Nikolić string;#13/01/2017<p style="text-align:justify;">Advertising in the Federation of Bosnia & Hercegovina is regulated through a series of laws and regulations (example: Law on Consumer Protection of BiH, Law on Media, Law on Medical Products etc.), but with the new <span lang="EN-GB" style="text-decoration:underline;">Law on Prohibited Advertising</span> (Official Gazette of FBiH 101 / 16, the "Law"), which entered into force on 31.12.2016, the control of illegal advertising is regulated, with regards to the relations between merchants, which in the Law on Consumer Protection of BiH remained open. By doing so, the protection of merchants from illegal advertising and the process of protection are regulated, additionally, the forms of prohibited advertising are established, which are misleading and prohibited comparative advertising. </p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong><span style="text-decoration:underline;">Misleading advertising</span> </strong>is advertising which in any way is deceitful or is likely to deceive the persons to whom it is addressed, and therefore may affect their economic behaviour, or advertising that harms or may harm competition in the market. </p><p style="text-align:justify;"><strong style="text-decoration:underline;">Comparative advertising</strong>, however, is any advertising which directly or indirectly implicates a competitor in the market, or which directly or indirectly implicates the goods or services of a competitor in the market. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">Whereas misleading advertising is completely banned, comparative advertising is prohibited only in specific cases, which, together with the relevant criteria when it is prohibited, is specified in the Law.</p><p style="text-align:justify;"><span lang="EN-GB" style="text-decoration:underline;"><strong><em>Collective lawsuit</em></strong></span></p><p>While the law regulates the possibility for individual actions, in which each merchant alone files an individual lawsuit to protect against prohibited advertising, a specific system of collective protection of merchants is foreseen. Namely in order to avoid situations in which the individual decision in this kind of dispute applies only between the parties, the Law, in accordance with the provisions of Directive 2006/114/EC, introduced a system of collective protection of merchants. By doing so individual subjects who have a legitimate interest file, in their name and in their own interest, as well as in the interest of other merchants, a lawsuit against those retailers or their associations which use prohibited methods of advertising. A decision which would uphold the claim obliges the defendant to refrain from using the same or similar misleading or prohibited comparative advertising which was the subject of dispute in these proceedings, against the merchant as well as other merchants in the future.</p><p>However, the law explicitly points out that in these types of disputes the court will not take into account the fact that the disputed advertising caused any kind of damage, or whether it is likely that damage will be caused. The legislator is of the opinion that the questions related to any kind of damage caused as a result of prohibited advertising shall be discussed in a separate lawsuit.</p>
BiH - New Law on Financial Operations BiH - New Law on Financial Operations | News | Karanović & Nikolić https://www.karanovic-nikolic.com/knnews/Pages/2017/01/12/Bosnia---New-Law-on-Financial-Operations.aspxBiH - New Law on Financial Operations BiH - New Law on Financial Operations | News | Karanović & Nikolić string;#12/01/2017<h2>The Law on Financial Operations</h2><p>On the 30<sup>th</sup> of December 2016, the application of the Law on Financial Operations (<strong>Law</strong>) will commence in the Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina. The Law is intended to ensure the proper functioning of the internal market by introducing adequate and systematic risk management measures and solvency measures, as well as to promote the competitiveness of local commercial enterprises by legislating a culture of prompt payment.  </p><h2>To whom does it apply?</h2><p>The Law applies to <span style="text-decoration:underline;">companies</span> who independently produce and sell products and provide services in the market in order to obtain a profit, in accordance with the regulations of the Company Law, as well as to <span style="text-decoration:underline;">entrepreneurs</span> who independently carry out commercial activities in BH, in accordance with the regulations of the Entrepreneurs Law.<br>The financial sector is excluded from the application of the Law (financial services, banking, investment management, leasing, insurance services and social security funds). </p><h2>Management and Supervisory Board duties</h2><p>General obligations of the Management:</p><ul><li>Ensuring solvency;</li><li>Managing assets and obligations in a way that ensures timely fulfilment of obligations;</li><li>Ensuring capital adequacy.</li></ul><p>General obligations of the Supervisory Board:</p><ul><li>Monitoring solvency;</li><li>Enacting adequate measure for eliminating insolvency.</li></ul><p>Risk Management (credit risk, market risk, operational risk, insolvency risk):</p><ul><li>Identify;</li><li>Measure/asses;</li><li>Monitor;</li><li>Report.</li></ul><h2>What is Capital Inadequacy?</h2><p>Capital inadequacy<strong> = </strong>the losses accrued in the business year + the losses transferred from the previous years ≥ ½ core capital.<br><strong>Remedy: </strong>The Law provides for specific actions to be taken by the Management, Supervisory Board and Shareholder Assembly within 90 days.</p><h2>What about Commercial transactions?</h2><p>The Law applies to all commercial transactions between companies/entrepreneurs/public entities concluded after the 30<sup>th</sup> of December 2016, as well as to commercial transactions concluded prior to this date for which realization has not been initiated (goods delivered, services provided) prior to the 30<sup>th</sup> of December 2016.<br>The deadline for the execution of monetary obligations in commercial transactions can be stipulated up to:</p><table width="100%" class="ms-rteTable-default" cellspacing="0"><tbody><tr><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width:33.33%;">Creditor ►<br>Debtor ▼</td><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width:33.33%;">Company / Entrepreneur</td><td class="ms-rteTable-default" style="width:33.33%;">Public Entity</td></tr><tr><td class="ms-rteTable-default">Company / Entrepreneur</td><td class="ms-rteTable-default">60 days / 360 days if bank warranty or BoE is provided</td><td class="ms-rteTable-default">60 days / 360 days if bank warranty or BoE is provided</td></tr><tr><td class="ms-rteTable-default">Public Entity</td><td class="ms-rteTable-default">60 days / 90 days</td><td class="ms-rteTable-default">Out of scope</td></tr></tbody></table><p><br>If the debtor does not fulfil its monetary obligation within the stipulated deadline, the creditor is entitled to an additional compensation in the amount of BAM 100. </p><h2>Insolvency</h2><p>Insolvency = the inability to fulfil monetary obligations that are due within:</p><ul><li>60 days – short-term monetary obligations in the amount which exceeds 20% of its short-term liabilities, as disclosed in the annual report for the previous financial year; or</li><li>30 days – salaries, taxes and social security contributions.</li></ul><h2>Remedy: </h2><p>The Law provides for financial restructuring measures to be taken to recover solvency within 60 days.</p><p>In case of insolvency, only payments which are necessary for regular business operations are permitted (supply of goods and services necessary for regular business operations, operative costs etc.) and all other payments will be considered to result in damaging creditors.</p><h2>Supervision</h2><p>The Tax Administration of the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Budget Inspection can issue sanctions: BAM 1,500 – BAM 15,000.</p>
New Amendments to the Criminal Code Regarding Tax Avoidance New Amendments to the Criminal Code Regarding Tax Avoidance | News | Karanović & Nikolić https://www.karanovic-nikolic.com/knnews/Pages/2017/01/11/New-Amendments-to-the-Criminal-Code-Regarding-Tax-Avoidance.aspxNew Amendments to the Criminal Code Regarding Tax Avoidance New Amendments to the Criminal Code Regarding Tax Avoidance | News | Karanović & Nikolić string;#11/01/2017<p>​On 23 November 2016, the Serbian Parliament adopted amendments to the Criminal Code. Changes made include, among other, criminal offence of tax avoidance. Prosecution of tax avoidance was a matter of much controversy in the recent practice, and some of the changes made by the latest amendments are aimed to address these controversies. Though generally welcome, the scope of changes made are unlikely to bring significant improvements in the prosecution of tax avoidance. <br><br>The first, long awaited change is the increase of the threshold for criminal prosecution of tax avoidance. For more than a decade this threshold was set at only RSD 150,000 (less than EUR 1,500). Such a low threshold allowed criminal investigations of minor cases of failure to pay tax, which were often the result of a mere mistake, rather than an actual intent to avoid tax. At the same time, the low threshold exhausted the resources of both the Tax Police and the Office of the Public Prosecutor who have a legal obligation to investigate all cases which may fall under legal definition of tax avoidance however small, instead of concentrating on high-profile cases of tax avoidance. <br><br>After much debate and lobbying, the threshold for criminal prosecution of tax evasion was increased by the latest amendments, but only symbolically: from RSD 150,000 to RSD 500,000 (app. EUR 4,000). Such a low threshold may be a part of Government's strategy to combat grey economies with more rigorous sanctions in 2017. Nevertheless, this is not very likely to contribute to neither the efficiency nor to the fairness in the prosecution of tax evasion.</p><p>The thresholds for the two qualified forms of tax avoidance are not changed and remain at the same level (at RSD 1,500.000 and RSD 7,500.000). <br><br>Another important change is that tax avoidance now also includes avoidance to pay tax on illegally earned income. Before the latest amendments tax avoidance could have been committed (and prosecuted) only with respect to legally earned income. Cases in which a person avoided to pay tax on illegal income were outside the scope of the legal definition of tax avoidance. The result was that the most blatant cases of tax avoidance could not have been prosecuted (such as for avoidance to pay tax and social contributions on salaries paid to illegal workers and similar). The removal of reference to "legal income" from the legal definition of tax avoidance is a welcome change which should result in a better and fairer prosecution of tax avoidance. <br><br>Finally, the legal definition of tax avoidance now includes a clear rule whereby this criminal offence may be committed both in cases in which the offender avoids his/her own taxes, as well as in cases in which the offender's intent was aimed at the avoidance of someone else's taxes. <br><br>The sanctions for tax avoidance for the most part remain the same: a fine and imprisonment of six months to five years. Sanctions for the most severe cases of tax avoidance have been slightly increased to a minimum of three years of imprisonment (instead of the previous two). The maximal sentence remains the same – ten years of imprisonment. <br><br>The amendments to the Criminal Code enter into force on 1 June 2017 whereas the provisions on tax avoidance shall enter into force on 1 March of 2018. </p>
New Managing Partner Announced New Managing Partner Announced | News | Karanović & Nikolić https://www.karanovic-nikolic.com/knnews/Pages/2017/01/11/New-Managing-Partner-Announced.aspxNew Managing Partner Announced New Managing Partner Announced | News | Karanović & Nikolić string;#11/01/2017<p>​Karanović & Nikolić is pleased to announce that Rastko Petaković has been elected as Managing Partner. Rastko takes over the firm's leading position from Dejan Nikolić who served as Managing Partner until 2016.<br>Rastko's dedication and energy was evident from the beginning of his career when he joined the firm as a legal trainee back in 2005. He led in the development of the firm's corporate, competition and M&A practices and acted on major M&A deals and ground breaking antitrust cases. In 2009 and 2010 he has acted as lead counsel in two of the largest antitrust cases to date in the SEE region. More recently, in 2014 and 2015 he acted as lead local counsel in regional deals totalling EUR 4 billion.<br>Rastko's career enabled him to emerge as a highly competent lawyer who, in addition to his expert knowledge of the law, brings innovative and modern ideas that contribute to Karanović & Nikolić being a market leader in the SEE region. His track record in expanding the firm's network across the region demonstrated his vision and leadership, and most importantly, the perseverance to deliver on the vision and goals he sets for his clients and the firm.<br>In 2015 Rastko was selected as the winner of the 2015 European Emerging Leaders Awards by M&A Advisor.<br>Commenting on his appointment, Rastko said: "I'm honoured and privileged to be elected as Managing Partner. These are exciting times for the firm and our clients and we plan to work with them closely to help them achieve their goals and use every opportunity that this region offers. We thank Dejan for his strong leadership and vision."<br>Dejan Nikolić comments: "Karanović & Nikolić recognises true virtue, and potential. Rastko not only embodies these qualities but also consistently employs both his excellent organisational skills and his admirable dedication to client care, helping us sustain our reputable status in the market. He has been a fantastic role model to our younger associates and has continuously proven his vast capabilities. We are all excited to see where his fresh and bold energy and leadership will take us."<br></p><p>For more information please contact Alexandra Yoshida,<br><a href="mailto:alexandra.yoshida@karanovic-nikolic.com"><span style="text-decoration:underline;">alexandra.yoshida@karanovic-nikolic.com</span></a>, on +381 11 3094 200.</p>
Happy Holidays to the IT Sector Happy Holidays to the IT Sector | News | Karanović & Nikolić https://www.karanovic-nikolic.com/knnews/Pages/2017/01/06/Happy-Holidays-to-the-IT-Sector.aspxHappy Holidays to the IT Sector Happy Holidays to the IT Sector | News | Karanović & Nikolić string;#06/01/2017<p style="text-align:justify;">Near the tail-end of 2016, the Serbian Competition Commission initiated an investigation for an alleged competition infringement that took place in June of the same year. The infringement involved a failure to notify a merger for mandatory clearance. The transaction in question concerned an unreported acquisition of sole control on the IT market. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">The parties to the concentration appear to have been the two shareholders of Alti, one of the leading distributors of IT equipment in Serbia and a parent company to Win Win, a significant IT retail chain active in Serbia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina. The concentration occurred when one of the two equal shareholders, Prointer Solutions, bought out the second shareholder. This means that the quality of control over Alti changed from joint to sole control, triggering a notifiable concentration under the local competition law framework, since the parties to the concentration satisfied the financial thresholds for mandatory notification under the local competition law.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">According to publically available information, independent media outlets originally alerted the Commission to the suspected infringement. The Commission appears to have reacted swiftly to the inquiry and to other publically available information, initiating proceedings to investigate the failure to notify in detail and to potentially impose sanctions for the breach of the law.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">Interestingly, in 2015 the Commission had cleared, without any conditions, Prointer Solutions' acquisition of the initial 50% share in the company (and the original joint control with the other shareholder, a natural person). However, subsequent changes in the quality of control (including from joint to sole control) were also monitored by merger control rules, and it appears that the acquirer neglected to take this into account in further corporate restructuring.  </p><p>The investigation is currently ongoing and the final consequences are yet to be seen. Although the fines for a competition infringement can amount to up to 10% of the total annual turnover realized in the previous business year, it is relatively unlikely that the sanctions will be so severe for a breach of this nature. However, the case unquestionably serves as a warning and highlights the importance of proper clearance in corporate transactions. Likewise it is a demonstration of the willingness of both the Serbian media to report suspected competition law breaches and the Competition Commission to follow through with formal investigations.</p>
EUR 2.6 million fine imposed on the electricity distribution company by the Competition Commission EUR 2.6 million fine imposed on the electricity distribution company by the Competition Commission | News | Karanović & Nikolić https://www.karanovic-nikolic.com/knnews/Pages/2016/12/23/EUR-2-6-million-fine-imposed-on-the-electricity-distribution-company-by-the-Competition-Commissio.aspxEUR 2.6 million fine imposed on the electricity distribution company by the Competition Commission EUR 2.6 million fine imposed on the electricity distribution company by the Competition Commission | News | Karanović & Nikolić string;#23/12/2016<p>​The Competition Commission found that the company EPS Distribucija, the only operator of the electricity distribution network in Serbia, abused its dominant position in the market of electricity distribution in Serbia. The abuse consists of applying dissimilar conditions to equivalent transactions with trading parties, whereby some of those trading parties have been placed at a competitive disadvantage in comparison to their competitors. The abuse was the result of, amongst other things, a non-transparent business policy of EPS Distribucija. </p><p>In particular, the Commission found that, in granting access to its distribution network, EPS Distribucija gave more advantageous conditions to its affiliate, EPS Snabdevanje, when compared to other commercial electricity suppliers. Both EPS Distribucija and EPS Snabdevanje are wholly-owned subsidiaries of the vertically integrated public company Elektroprivreda Srbije, the state-owned electric utility power company.</p><p>Based on the Commission's findings, the abusive practices of EPS Distribucija resulted in an increase of the cost of electricity for the end consumers. In addition to several behavioural measures aimed at ceasing the abusive practices, EPS Distribucija now faces EUR 2.6 million fine, which is 0.6% of its total annual turnover realised in 2015. While the company has the right to appeal to the Administrative Court, the claim does not suspend the payment of the fine unless granted by the Administrative Court on the basis of a reasoned request. </p><p>As a reminder, holding a dominant position is not in itself anti-competitive under Serbian Competition Law, but if the company exploits this position to limit or eliminate competition, it may amount to an abuse and a breach of the Competition Law.</p>
Serbia: Criminal Sanctions for Cartels Serbia: Criminal Sanctions for Cartels | News | Karanović & Nikolić https://www.karanovic-nikolic.com/knnews/Pages/2016/12/20/Serbia-Criminal-Sanctions-for-Cartels.aspxSerbia: Criminal Sanctions for Cartels Serbia: Criminal Sanctions for Cartels | News | Karanović & Nikolić string;#20/12/2016<p style="text-align:justify;">The Serbian Parliament has recently adopted amendments to the Criminal Code. The amendments include a significant overhaul of the legal framework for white collar crimes, touching upon the rules relevant for antitrust enforcement as well.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">While the Serbian Criminal Code previously penalized antitrust infringements spearheaded by the responsible managers, the relevant provision was relatively vague and targeted chiefly dominance abuse. Although a few investigations were initiated under these rules, no final criminal judgement was ever issued by the courts in relation to antitrust breaches. </p><p style="text-align:justify;">However, the new rules only target the conclusion of restrictive agreements related to price-fixing, limitation of production or sales or market-sharing. Naturally, agreements exempted from prohibition under the competition framework are also exempted from criminal sanctions. Criminal penalties for concluding a prohibited restrictive agreement include prison from six months to up to five years, as well as a monetary fine. As is common in an antitrust regime, leniency applicants are also afforded leniency under the criminal rules (which was not explicitly regulated previously). The relevant amendments are expected to enter into force on 1 March 2018.</p><p style="text-align:justify;">In conclusion, the new provisions are more precise, decriminalize a range of behaviour (concerning dominance abuse) and are more in line with overall competition regulations. Accordingly and taking into account the ongoing proceedings before the Competition Commission, the first criminal cases for antitrust breaches may well be expected in Serbia in the near future.</p>