Antitrust Commissioner David Gilo has just been given serious teeth to crack down on monopolies and cartels. The Knesset approved changes to the Restrictive Trade Practices Law this week that give the Antitrust Authority the power to levy fines of up to NIS 24 million for violations.
Until now, the only sanctions available for violating antitrust laws were criminal, but criminal proceedings can be long and complicated, and apply only in certain cases. The new administrative process will allow the authority to levy large fines and was one of the recommendations of the Trajtenberg committee on socioeconomic change, as well as recommendations by the state comptroller, the OECD and the committee on economic concentration.
Gilo called the change a real breakthrough in the authority's ability to enforce the law. It will provide effective deterrence and prevent a wide range of violations, as well as protecting competition and improving the situation for consumers, said Gilo. It will also help lower the cost of living, he added.
The Antitrust Authority will henceforth be able to levy fines of up to 8% of a company's annual revenues, up to a limit of NIS 24 million.
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