The Competition Council is investigating 12 banks for a possible loan cartel

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The Competition Council’s inspections regarding a possible cartel agreement on the granting of loans targeted 12 banking groups, the president of the institution, Bogdan Chirițoiu, said on Monday. He stated that the inspections lasted three days, during which evidence was collected. The banks are suspected of having agreements on how credit scores are calculated, which led to the blocking of access for some customers.

The removal of documents that could represent evidence was done with a court order. Depending on these, but also on how the involved banks will collaborate, there could already be a result of the investigation next year, Chirițoiu also stated.

Last week, the representatives of the Competition Council carried out unannounced inspections at the premises of several commercial banks, having the suspicion that the financial institutions colluded with each other to set the interest rates on loans

Unannounced inspections are authorized by the Bucharest Court of Appeal. Inspectors thus aim to obtain information and documents necessary to clarify whether or not an anti-competitive practice exists. Unannounced inspections are an important stage in the investigation procedures of possible anti-competitive behavior, but they do not represent a pre-judgment regarding the companies’ guilt.

If the Competition Council finds a violation of the competition rules, the companies involved risk fines of up to 10% of the turnover. Companies that cooperate with the competition authority under the leniency program can obtain immunity from the fine or substantial reductions of it.

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