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Purchase of Polska Press by Orlen. The court will hear the case out of sequence

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The Court of Competition and Consumer Protection will consider, out of sequence, the appeal of the Ombudsman against the decision of the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection regarding the consent to take control over Polska Press by PKN Orlen. The decision on this was made at the end of April this year.

About the the order of the chairman of the 17th Division of the District Court in Warsaw, which is the Court of Competition and Consumer Protection, found out about PAP in the Office of the Human Rights Defender. The Ombudsman recently received a copy of the decision on this matter.

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Court order

“In connection with the request presented by the defendant President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection in a letter of April 15, 2021 on the appeal of the Ombudsman with the participation of PKN Orlen in Płock for consent to the concentration of entrepreneurs, on the basis of (…) the Rules of the functioning of common courts I order that this case be examined out of the order of its receipt “, proclaims the order of the chairman of the XVII Department of SO judge Andrzej Turliński.

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Pursuant to the Rules of Procedure of Common Courts, “cases should be examined in the order of their receipt in a given report”, however “in particularly justified cases, the chairman of the department may order that a case or cases of individual categories be examined out of sequence”.

In mid-April, a statement from UOKiK stated, inter alia, that the President of the Office “intends to file a motion with the court to speed up the adjudication of the Ombudsman’s appeal against the issued decision”. “We are convinced that the decision issued regarding the consent to take over Polska Press companies by PKN Orlen is correct, therefore the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection hopes for the court to consider the appeal lodged by the Human Rights Defender as soon as possible” – emphasized the Office.

March 5 this year. It was reported that the Ombudsman appealed to the Court of Competition and Consumer Protection against the decision of the President of the Office of Competition and Consumer Protection on the consent to the concentration consisting in taking control of Polska Press by PKN Orlen. The President of UOKiK agreed to take over Polska Press by PKN Orlen at the beginning of February this year. In his appeal, the Commissioner for Human Rights wants the court to revoke the consent of the President of UOKiK.

– In the context of freedom of speech, we sometimes forget that it is not only what we can proclaim, but also what – as citizens – we can receive, what information we can obtain. And I believe that these issues should be taken into account. (…) This is a transaction with a much deeper bottom – said the Ombudsman Adam Bodnar in the context of this appeal.

At that time, it was reported that, additionally – in a separate application – the Ombudsman also wanted the court to suspend the execution of the decision approving the takeover of Polska Press by PKN Orlen until the main appeal is resolved.

The court considered this separate application on April 8 this year. and suspended the execution of the decision of the President of UOKiK. “Failure to take into account the Ombudsman’s request could lead to the execution by PKN Orlen of a non-final decision, because it was appealed against by an authorized body, which in principle should not take place in a democratic state ruled by law (…) if it is performed, its potential may have negative effects on competition “- the court decided then.

Shortly thereafter, the Commissioner for Human Rights applied to the registry court to include the decision suspending the execution of the decision of the President of UOKiK in the companies’ registration files.

Orlen stand

The President of PKN Orlen, Daniel Obajtek, declared then that “the acquisition of shares in Polska Press was effective on March 1, 2021, that is before the court issued a decision”. – Therefore, the court’s decision is redundant and has no impact on our actions or the effectiveness of the acquisition of this entity – he added. He also assessed that “the court’s decision does not limit PKN Orlen in exercising ownership rights from shares in Polska Press; the Ombudsman applied to the court for such a ban, but the court in the verdict of the issued decision did not impose such an obligation on PKN Orlen”.

According to the information received by the Office of the Human Rights Defender – along with the order of the chairman of the court division – no specific deadline has yet been set for the examination of the Defender’s appeal, but the case has already received its reference number.

Main photo source: Marcin Obara / PAP



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