What happens if the GVH appears at my undertaking?
Try to cooperate with the colleagues of the GVH if they appear at your undertaking.
It is in the common interest of all involved parties that the unannounced inspection is completed as soon as possible. During the unannounced inspection, you have the opportunity to submit a leniency application so that you may also avoid the imposition of a fine.
What happens during the unannounced inspection?
- In Hungary, the GVH may conduct unannounced inspections (dawn raids) in cases of suspected anti-competitive agreements, or abuse of dominant positions, and in merger proceedings. During the unannounced inspection the GVH seeks evidence of the possible violations.
- The officers of the GVH shall identify themselves with their service ID card before the representative of the undertaking. Following this, the officers of the GVH can start the unannounced inspection immediately, without having to wait for the chief executive or the lawyer of the undertaking to arrive.
If the undertaking does not allow the case handlers of the GVH to carry out the inspection, police assistance may be requested.
- The officers of the GVH can view and copy any document, IT device (e.g. mobile phone, computer, server, flash drive, application, chat, cloud) or remote data carrier, even if the evidence is unrelated to the subject matter of the investigation; in such cases, the GVH will subsequently obtain a judicial warrant for the evidence.
- The GVH may also carry out unannounced inspections at the headquarters, premises, vehicles of the undertaking, furthermore, at private homes of its former and current chief executives, and at the private homes of its current employees.
How can I cooperate with the officers of the GVH?
- Let the GVH officers into the premises of the undertaking.
- Help them with their search and with the gathering of evidence. Provide them with access to IT systems (disclose passwords). Make the stored data known and readable. The GVH may even disable the mailing system of the undertaking.
- Answer any questions to the best of your knowledge. During the investigation, officers may ask anything about the subject of the investigation, hold a hearing with anyone, and prohibit certain individuals from leaving the scene.
- If the officers have not finished the unannounced inspection they may lock premises and data carriers (laptop, telephone, etc.) or, if the data carriers are not present on the spot, they may oblige certain persons to make the data carriers available to the GVH . In the latter case, the data cannot be amended.
Rights during the unannounced inspection
- To use a legal representative; however, the commencement of the unannounced inspection does not depend on the presence of the legal representative.
- To refuse to allow the case handlers to inspect documents that have been prepared for the purpose of defence (LPP).
- During or after the unannounced inspection, you have the opportunity to submit a leniency application so that you may also avoid the imposition of a fine.
- To make an objection to the investigation within 8 days.
Obligations during the unannounced inspection
- Employees of the undertaking must cooperate with the case handlers but are under no obligation to admit the infringement. Case handlers must be provided with the requested data, tools, and information.
- Case handlers aim not to hinder the day-to-day operation of the undertaking, but may restrict free movement and communication, e.g. they may shut down the mailing system of the undertaking and prohibit certain key people from leaving the premises.
- In the absence of cooperation (e.g. due to hindering entry to the premises), a procedural fine may be imposed of up to 1% of the net turnover of the undertaking in the previous year, or of up to HUF 500,000 in the case of a natural person, furthermore, the GVH may request the assistance of the police.
Information on the judicial warrant
The GVH may only carry out an unannounced inspection after obtaining a judicial warrant. In its application for the warrant, the GVH must demonstrate that there is just cause for assuming that other investigative measures would be unlikely to produce results and that it is probable that the evidence would not be voluntarily made available to the authority by the persons concerned. It is not possible to seek a legal remedy against a judicial warrant. The legality of a judicial warrant authorising an unannounced inspection may be challenged within the framework of an appeal against the final decision closing the case.
How do I know what happened during the search?
The GVH prepares a report on the unannounced inspection, a copy of which is also given to the involved undertaking.