CNMC proposes a total fine of €47 million for Deloitte, PWC and KPMG among other consulting companies for participating in a bid rigging cartel

In February 2019, the Spanish Competition Authority (CNMC) opened formal proceedings against 25 consulting companies and 8 of their executives for allegedly manipulating and allocating public tenders in the consulting services market between 2009 and 2018.

This case was initiated in the wake of the dawn raids carried out by a Regional Competition Authority (in the Basque Country) in January 2017 and by the CNMC in October 2018. According to public information available so far, several tenders would have been distributed among a number of consulting companies, which were coordinated to present simulated offers that allowed them to secure public contracts without having to worry about their competitors in the market.

In March 2020, the CNMC concluded that there were other companies that might have participated in such fraudulent scheme and expanded the proceedings for the second time to additional companies, amounting to a total of 36 consulting companies and 14 individuals.

On the basis on the information gathered during the dawn raids, the CNMC has now proposed to impose a total fine of EUR 47 million to the companies considered liable for their participation in the cartel, including the major firms Deloitte, PWC and KPMG, which shall be fined with EUR 17,2 million, EUR 10,4 million and EUR 10,2 million, respectively.

Moreover, the CNMC has also proposed to prohibit these companies from entering into contracts with the public administration, although the terms for the implementation of such prohibition have not yet been determined.

Some of the companies involved have already reacted to this information. For instance, KPMG has published a statement where they plead that there are no evidences of the firm's involvement in the anti-competitive practices under investigation. In any case, the firm has publicly announced that they will file observations against the CNMC's accusations and appeal before the Court if necessary.

On the other hand, the recent leaks of sensible information regarding the disciplinary proceedings to the media could lead to administrative sanctions if irregularities affecting the duty to keep the process confidential are proved.

For further information, please find the last CNMC's official press release regarding this topic here.

For more information please contact Patricia Liñán or Candela Sotés.

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