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Competition Office unaffected by new EU limits on fines

The European Commission's decision, in its capacity as the EU's competition authority, to replace arbitrary limits on company fines with turnover-linked limits will not affect Hungary's Competition Office (GVH), as the GVH has used such a method since 2004, József Sárai, who is in charge of the GVH's international division, said on Thursday.

The European Commission has set the limit for fines for competition-related offenses at 30% of annual revenue generated by the activity in which the company was found to be at fault, but no more than 10% of total turnover. Hungary adopted these same rules from January 1, 2004, Sárai said. The GVH has investigated 125 cases of companies suspected to have participated in non-competitive activity in trade with other EU member states since Hungary joined the EU on May 1, 2004. The office established companies were at fault in 39 cases and it has already closed ten of these. It levied fines in two of the ten cases.