Security companies fined 47m euros for anti-competitive behaviour

The Belgian branches of private security companies G4S and Seris have been fined 47.1 million euros for anti-competitive behaviour. A third, Securitas, was granted immunity from a fine as a whistleblower. The companies acknowledged their participation in the infringements.

The three companies have admitted to entering into anti-competitive agreements for years. Between 2008 and 2020, Securitas, G4S and Seris agreed on minimum prices within their professional association, aligned themselves with each other in tenders - known as bid rigging - and agreed not to recruit staff from each other, among other things.

The case surfaced in early 2020 at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic and led in March 2021 to the resignation of Bpost CEO Jean-Paul Van Avermaet, who previously managed G4S.

Central to the case are large contracts, including with NATO and the ministry of Defence. The Belgian Competition Authority (BCA) referred to "serious and long-term cartel agreements" that harmed security sector customers and the entire economy. 

The companies acknowledged their participation in the infringements and accepted the terms of the settlement proposed by the BCA. They also used the leniency programme provided for by law. Sweden's Securitas acted as a whistleblower in the case and was therefore granted full immunity from a fine. For Britain's G4S and France's Seris, there are reduced fines: 35.9 million euros for G4S and 11.2 million euros for Seris.

Finally, the BCA says 11 natural persons have requested and obtained immunity from prosecution. Proceedings are still pending against one person. Van Avermaet is being criminally prosecuted by a US court for the same offences, where he pleaded not guilty.



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