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Wednesday, 22.02.2017, 01:37
Selver to take vodka cartel case to Estonia's top court
"During the entire proceeding, Selver AS has deemed the charge of the Prosecutor's Office to be unfounded and incomprehensible since Selver AS has never concluded any price agreements with their competitors. Selver AS is still convinced that they have not contravened the law and will appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court," the company said in a release to the stock exchange.
The second-tier court concluded that the lower court's decision was lawful, consistent with the collected evidence and thoroughly reasoned, and that there were no grounds to revoke it,
On Jan. 20, 2016 the Tallinn circuit court partly quashed the county court's April 29, 2015 guilty verdict for five companies and nine persons, and terminated the proceeding on the grounds that the limitation period had expired. The county court's decision to acquit two defendants remained unchanged and the prosecutor's appeal was turned down.
Charges had been brought against Liviko, retail chains Selver, Rimi Eesti Food, Maxima Eesti and Prisma Peremarket, as well as 11 representatives of the said companies.
According to the charge sheet, the defendants entered in 2009 into a competition-harming agreement to raise the retail price of vodkas with 40% alcohol content of the lower price segment to at least 63.50 kroons (EUR 4.06) for a standard half-liter bottle.
The Supreme Court in turn quashed the circuit court's ruling on June 20 this year and returned the case to the second-tier court for retrial with a new panel of judges. Contrary to the circuit court, the top court found that the county court had prosecuted the accused in a correct manner and that the case had not expired.