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21 February 2013
At the end of 2012 the Competition Protection Commission adopted guidelines regarding corporate compliance programmes. In general, the guidelines highlight the advantages of these programmes. Through the guidelines, the commission aims to encourage businesses to develop and implement compliance programmes in order to reduce or avoid the risks of non-compliance with competition law.
The guidelines describe six main phases for the development of a compliance programme and the measures to be undertaken in each phase.
The commission first recommends that companies conduct a thorough analysis of the risks and an internal compliance audit, which may include identification of the relevant markets and the characteristics of the competition environment.
The commission then suggests that the decision to implement a compliance programme be taken by the company's management. For this purpose, the management should inform all employees and declare clearly that compliance with competition law is part of the company's business policy. The management may determine budget, time and personnel for development, as well as the implementation of the programme.
Companies may then develop internal organisation for reporting non-compliance with competition law and appoint a compliance officer. The compliance officer should report directly to management. Further, companies may:
Further, according to the guidelines, companies may develop internal mechanisms for cooperation with the anti-monopoly authority in each possible proceeding against them and train employees in compliance with competition rules. Finally, it is suggested that companies conduct continuous monitoring and evaluation of the compliance programme's effectiveness.
The guidelines are not obligatory for market operators, but they may use them as a source of information. However, the commission declares in the guidelines that a compliance programme will not be considered as a mitigating factor when calculating the penalty for infringement of European and Bulgarian competition law.
For further information on this topic please contact Ilko Stoyanov or Mariya Papazova at Advokatsko Druzhestvo Andreev Stoyanov & Tsekova in cooperation with Schönherr Rechtsanwälte GmbH by telephone (+359 2 933 1072), fax (+359 2 986 1105) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com).
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