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Clifford Chance Badea adds a major win in a 4-year competition litigation

5 July 2023

Clifford Chance Badea adds a major win in a 4-year competition litigation

The legal debate between the lawyers of Clifford Chance Badea and STOICA & Associates, on one side, and the Romanian Competition Council, on the other side, related to the EUR 13.5 million fine applied in 2019 to a key telecom player, was finally settled in favor of the company.

As representative of an important telecom player, the Clifford Chance Badea and STOICA & Associates law firms were issued a final ruling to cancel one of the largest fines imposed in recent years by the Competition Council, amounting to EUR 13.5 million, in an investigation into an alleged abuse of a dominant position.

The case involved an extremely interesting legal debate with several novelties about the emerging value-added services industry and its merging with the telecommunications industry. The Competition Council's decision to fine Orange Romania was announced in January 2019, following a three-year investigation – and concerned an alleged limitation of access for a value-added services aggregator to short numbers in the telecom operator's own network.

After four years of litigation, the High Court of Cassation and Justice confirmed the decision handed down by the Bucharest Court of Appeal, namely the full annulment of the sanction imposed by the Romanian competition authority, after the High Court of Cassation and Justice had also ruled to suspend the enforcement of the competition authority's decision, in 2020.

Simona Neagu, Counsel and Head of the Litigation practice with Clifford Chance Badea, said: "This has been a lengthy project in a new and sophisticated value-added services industry that required long hours of study and strategic analysis on multiple levels. There were a continuous communication between the lawyers and the client's teams and a very good synchronization. All this helped us be rewarded and priviledged with a most exceptional decision for the Romanian competition law jurisprudence of recent years, ruled in favour of our client."

This jurisprudence, through its value of principle, will contribute to the orientation of the Competition Council's activity and to the strengthening of its role as guardian of the rules of the free market economy, based on private property.