Russian Pollock Association under Anti-Trust Fire in connection with Pacific Andes Case

September 17, 2012 16:34

The Federal Anti-Monopoly Service (FAS) has investigated ten companies-members of Russia's Pollock Association discovering indications of a cartel agreement. The investigation has been conducted in connection with the so-called Pacific Andes Case, the Hong Kong based concern being suspected in unlawful conduct of fishery in Russian waters through illicit control of Russian fishing companies, reports with reference to Kommersant. 

The investigation was conducted jointly with Primorsky Department of Federal Security Service and it reportedly focused on Dalvest, Vostokrybprom, Dalrybprom, Kronwerk, SeaGull, Sofco, Intraros, NBAMR,  Roliz, Turnif and PCA (Pollock Catchers Association).  The activities of the listed companies have been reportedly found to violate provisions of the Law on Protection of Competition. In particular, they are suspected of cartel collusion of setting and maintaining prices as well as of market division according to a territorial principle. The Association, in particular, is suspected of co-coordinating the above activities.

FAS is currently considering if it should proceed against the above entities. Along these lines the anti-trust watchdog has asked the Committee for Natural Resources, Exploitation of Nature and Ecology (also involved in the investigation) to submit before 24 September current all the information on the structures presumably connected with Pacific Andes International Holdings - the largest producer of whitefish fillets in the world.

According to the report, the Pollock Catchers Association puts together 45 companies that provide some 30% of the Russian catch and about 23% of the capture quotas.

It is estimated that the Russian pollock market amounts to about $2.5 billion.

Commenting on the allegations, PCA President German Zverev was quoted as saying that suspicions of a cartel agreement have nothing to do with suspicions that some Russian pollock companies are affiliated with foreign interests.

Meanwhile experts in corporate law believe it will be very difficult to prove such affiliation as chains of ownership end up in offshore companies where in many countries beneficiaries will often be disclosed only by Court ruling or through police channels within a criminal case.

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