As previously described, the Swedish Competition Act (2008:579) will be amended in several important respects on 1 March 2021. We recommend that you revise your current compliance policies and manuals for dawn raids to ensure adherence with the new rules.
The amendments to the Competition Act are based on EU Directive 2019/1, which harmonises the powers of the European competition authorities. The amendments will significantly extend the investigative and sanctioning powers of the Swedish Competition Authority (“SCA”). The SCA will, inter alia, have extended powers during dawn raids. Firms will be legally obliged to co-operate with the SCA during investigations. Fines (Sw: utredningsskadeavgift) may be imposed on firms that submit incorrect, misleading or incomplete information, break a seal at dawn raids or otherwise obstruct the authority's decisions during the investigation. Another important change, which does not follow from the EU Directive, is that the SCA will have the powers to impose fines for violations of the prohibitions against anti-competitive agreements and abuse of a dominant position. Previously, the SCA had to initiate an action for fines before the court. Further, the SCA will have the power to order divestments, and may, subject to certain conditions, require that members contribute to fines imposed on trade associations for violations of the competition rules.
Trine Osen Bergqvist