Tax payers on the hook for construction firms’ cartel
The European Commission is considering fining Slovakia for not penalizing companies for tender rigging in 2004. Back in 2006, the anti-trust authority PMÚ fined six construction firms (Strabag, Doprastav, Skanska, Inžinierske stavby, Betamont and Mota-Engil) €45m and imposed a 5-year ban on taking part in public tenders. Only Skanska, IS, and Betamont paid the fines, though. The only company hit by the case was Skanska. It paid the fine, changed local management, and lost three highway projects. After it stopped rigging tenders, it only won two highway tenders. In sharp contrast, Doprastav and Strabag avoided the fines, are among the most successful companies in public tenders, and still face suspicions of rigging tenders. The EC might force Slovakia to return EU funds granted to the six companies in question, tens to hundreds of million euros.