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Fri August 12 2022

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Authorities seek review of Strabag corruption case

28 Jul The Austrian Federal Competition Authority (BWB) has requested a review of an anti-trust decision issued against Strabag, the country’s largest contractor.

In October 2021 the Vienna Higher Regional Court, sitting as the Cartel Court, fined Strabag €45.37 million (£38 million) after two group companies, Strabag AG and F. Lang u. K. Menhofer Baugesellschaft were found to have acted as part of a construction cartel.

The Federal Competition Authority (BWB) said that, between July 2002 and October 2027, the two companies had been involved in price fixing, market sharing and the exchange of market information with competitors in relation to public- and private-sector tenders for civil engineering contracts in Austria.

Strabag accepted the fine while pointing out that both companies had cooperated fully with the authorities ever since proceedings against them began in 2019.

Strabag chief executive Thomas Birtel said he felt “great personal disappointment that the allegations turned out to be partly justified after intensive investigations”.

Now, however, the BWB has requested a review of the Court’s decision, much to Strabag’s dismay.

“The management board considers the request to be without merit, as Strabag cooperated fully and continuously with the Federal Competition Authority under a leniency agreement,” said the company in a statement issued today.

It continued: “Strabag’s cooperation contributed significantly to the investigation and it was the first company to end the antitrust proceedings against it with a final decision. Moreover, Strabag moved to enhance its compliance system in response to the matter and implemented a novel monitoring system.”

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