Officials Trouble Agency

Officials are responsible for about half of the registered violations of anti-monopoly laws, deputy head of the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service Andrei Tsarikovsky said in an interview with Rossiiskaya Gazeta.

Tsarikovsky offered a pessimistic view as he highlighted the frequency with which public servants abuse public procurements, provide unreasonable preferences for companies owned by acquaintances and create obstacles for unfriendly companies, saying a new generation of economists and officials was needed to challenge those norms.

Sidestepping a question about bribe taking, Tsarikovsky instead identified ignorance of anti-monopoly laws as the major driver of violations, especially among regional and local officials. He also admitted that a blacklist of officials and businesses, designed to target repeat violators with stiffer penalties, has seen limited use so far.

Tsarikovsky said that in business, company-wide fines were more effective than those against individuals, but officials responded best to the opposite tactic. However, because officials often don't know they are violating the law, increasing punishments would have limited effectiveness in preventing future violations.

(MT)

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