The Serbian national competition authority (NCA), Commission for Protection of Competition, has performed another dawn raid – this time with police assistance.
According to a statement on the watchdog’s website, the dawn raid was performed in the Serbian town of Babušnica. Seeking evidence of collusion, the NCA raided two undertakings, on suspicion they were involved in bid rigging concerning the procurement of elevator maintenance services.
The Serbian NCA is no stranger to dawn raids, as it performs them fairly regularly. However, the peculiarity of the latest one is that it was undertaken with police assistance. According to the NCA, this was done due to the fear of evidence tampering.
The competition authority may request police assistance in performing certain actions, in particular when undertaking on site inspections and in case of temporary seizure of objects. The NCA has been reluctant to use police assistance in the past, but now seems more ready to exercise this possibility.
The legality of dawn raids under Serbian law is disputable and has come under a constitutional challenge. Despite this controversy, the NCA continues to rely on this method of gathering evidence in infringement proceedings.
As a reminder, the NCA last year published a dawn raid guidance, informing parties of their rights and obligations during the course of unannounced inspections.