The amendment of the Federal Antimonopoly Service's work regime in the conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic
Pepeliaev Group advises of the measures being taken to amend the work regime of the Federal Antimonopoly Service
By virtue of the threat of the spread of the new coronavirus infection, the need has originated for the amendment of the work regime of the Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service (the “FAS of Russia”) relating to the consideration of cases and conduct of audits.
1. Transfer of cases for remote consideration
On 8 April 2020 the FAS of Russia advised that, in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic, hearings of the authority’s Commissions have been postponed by the maximum possible timeframes established by legislation. At the same time it is noted that, with respect to cases which cannot be postponed (if they need to the considered before 30 April 2020), remote work will be organised using video conference communication systems or programs ensuring voice and video communication over the Internet.
In addition commissions for the consideration of appeals against procurement under Federal Law No. 44-FZ dated 5 April 2013 “On the contract system in the area of the purchases of goods, work and services to provide for state and municipal needs” and under Federal Law No. 223-FZ dated 18 July 2011 “On procurement of goods, work, and services by separate types of legal entities” against sector-based bidding procedures, and with regard to petitions to include procurement participants in the register of bad-faith suppliers, will be held remotely without the personal presence of the representatives of entities subject to supervision and of the claimant.
All interested parties will be notified in advance of the new dates when the cases will be considered and of the possibility to participate in them remotely. It is possible to participate remotely in the consideration of an appeal or petition via an internet video-conference using the VideoMost ActiveX control or VideoMost plugin.
However, the FAS of Russia in its letter No. IA/27895/20 dated 3 April 2020 specified that the remote holding of control measures does not cover the challenging of procurement if information about such procurement constitutes a state secret or if such information is contained in documents concerning the procurement and/or a draft contract (agreement).
2. Suspension of audits
The Deputy Head of the FAS of Russia, Sergey Puzyrevskiy, advises that in the current conditions scheduled audits have been cancelled and the number of unscheduled audits has been limited in view of the current epidemiological situation. Audits will be performed only if there is a threat to the life and health of the public. This primarily relates to essential products, including food products, medicines and medical products, in connection with the sharp increase in the demand for over the supply of the specified products.
Moreover, if business entities are held liable, the FAS of Russia and its local offices will grant deferrals with regard to the payment of fines for a period of at least three months.
The measures being taken by the antimonopoly authority are aimed at a temporary mitigation of antitrust regulation in order to support business and ease the financial burden in the circumstances that have evolved.
Enterprises need to follow up on the measures being taken by the government and the changing regulations to remain good-faith participants of the market. The antimonopoly authority, despite the changes in its work regime, continues to immediately react when there is a violation of current legislation.
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