Law firm ma­nip­u­lates reg­u­la­tor

Com­pe­ti­tion Com­mis­sion head speaks of black­mail and MPs tabling ques­tions about cer­tain com­pa­nies

Kathimerini English - - Focus - BY DIMITRA MANIFAVA

A law firm ap­pears to have filed a num­ber of fab­ri­cated com­plaints with the Hellenic Com­pe­ti­tion Com­mis­sion in re­cent months with the aim of black­mail­ing the com­pa­nies ac­cused in those com­plaints.

Kathimerini un­der­stands the law firm is con­nected to a for­mer se­nior mem­ber of the in­de­pen­dent author­ity, whose name re­ceived a lot of pub­lic­ity in the me­dia and the jus­tice sys­tem in 2006. The firm’s un­law­ful ac­tiv­ity was de­scribed yes­ter­day by the head of the com­mis­sion, Dim­itris Kyrit­sakis, dur­ing a hear­ing by the Par­lia­men­tary Com­mit­tee for In­sti­tu­tions and Trans­parency.

The Com­pe­ti­tion Com­mis­sion chief ar­gued that the law firm finds deputies (this mainly con­cerns two par­tic­u­lar MPs) will­ing to ta­ble ques­tions in Par­lia­ment re­gard­ing com- plaints sub­mit­ted for ex­am­i­na­tion by the com­mis­sion.

Ac­cord­ing to Kyrit­sakis, that is in­tended to pres­sure the com­mis­sion to pri­or­i­tize cer­tain cases, al­though in 2011 the com­mis­sion changed its pri­or­ity as­sess­ment cri­te­ria, which to­day are no longer based on the time of a com­plaint’s sub­mis­sion.

The law firm is also said to en­gage in an­other prac­tice that is even less in­no­cent: “The law firm files a com­plaint against a com­pany and then for­wards the com­plaint to the same com­pany,” Com­pe­ti­tion Com­mis­sion Di­rec­tor Gen­eral Dionysia Xirokosta told the same com­mit­tee yes­ter­day.

Le­gal and busi­ness sources ex­plained to Kathimerini that such prac­tices likely lead to black­mail aimed at per­sonal profit. If one has a well-founded com­plaint and wishes to have it as­sessed and ex­am­ined by the Com­pe­ti­tion Com­mis­sion, one doesn’t in­form the sub­ject of 1.0755 the com­plaint as that would de­prive the watch­dog of the ad­van­tage of a sur­prise in­spec­tion.

Sources say that a num­ber of com­pa­nies have fallen vic­tim to the prac­tice but for rea­sons re­lated to bad pub­lic­ity chose not to pub­li­cize it. How­ever, at least one ma­jor com­pany ap­pears de­ter­mined to re­sort to jus­tice soon. It re­mains to be seen whether the Com­pe­ti­tion Com­mis­sion has the nec­es­sary ev­i­dence to re­sort to jus­tice it­self too.

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