The Competition Office (GVH) levied a combined Ft 2.278 billion in fines in the first half of 2006, 2.073 billion more than in the same period a year earlier, GVH announced on Sunday.
GVH fined three IT companies Ft 1.5 billion in a single case. Fines for participating in cartels accounted for most of the fines, adding up to Ft 1.515 billion, Ft 1.435 billion more than in the first half of 2005. Fines for misleading consumers through false advertising or other means came to Ft 750.5 million in H1 2006, Ft 633 million more than in the same period a year earlier. Fines worth Ft 12 million were levied for abuse of market position in the first half of 2006, Ft 8 million more than in the same period a year earlier.
The biggest fine GVH levied in the first half was Ft 1.51 billion, paid by three IT companies who set up a cartel. They were the Hungarian units of Germany's SAP AG and US-based IBM Corp., fined Ft 690 million apiece, and International System House, fined Ft 129 million. The second-biggest fine during the period was Ft 257 million for false advertising run by the Hungarian unit of Colgate-Palmolive. The third-biggest fine was Ft 168 million, also for false advertising: Electro Computer, together with Budapest Bank, Credigen Bank and Magyar Cetelem Bank, falsely claimed to offer consumers "free credit".
GVH decided on 80 of the 286 cases brought to it in the first half of the year.