The Office of the OFAS for Bashkiria initiated a case against the Ministry of Transport of the Republic and St. Petersburg Skycopter LLC on the grounds of violation of competition. The reason was the results of an inspection by the prosecutor’s office of two purchases for organizing flights of delegations led by the head of Bashkiria, Radiy Khabirov, to Uzbekistan and the Donetsk People’s Republic in March and May last year. Their total cost amounted to 32 million rubles. It was established that the results of the purchases were summed up after the actual performance of the flights. Experts do not rule out that the FAS will impose an administrative fine on officials of the ministry.
The OFAS Commission for Bashkiria initiated a case on signs of violation of competition against the Ministry of Transport, Roads of Bashkiria and the Skycopter company, which provides services for renting passenger aircraft with a crew.
The definition of the department says that it received materials from the prosecutor’s office in relation to the Ministry of Transport. The supervisory authority checked two purchases for organizing visits of the delegation of Bashkiria under the leadership of the head of the republic Radiy Khabirov to the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) on March 20-21, 2022 and Uzbekistan on May 16-19.
For a visit to the DPR, it was planned to fly from Ufa to Volgograd. In response to a request from the Ministry of Transport, four commercial proposals for the lease of passenger aircraft with a crew were received. UTair announced that the flight will cost 11.5 million rubles, the aggregator of charter flights Take Jet appointed 13.5 million rubles, Jet Trading Group – 13.8 million rubles, Skycopter – 14.3 million rub. The Commission of the Ministry of Transport came to the conclusion that only the proposal of the St. Petersburg Skycopter met the conditions. An auction was announced with a starting price of 13.28 million rubles, for which only one bid was received from the company. The results were summed up on March 30, and on April 7 the parties signed a state contract. However, charter flights were organized even before the procedure for determining the contractor, the definition says.
Also, signs of the conclusion of an anti-competitive agreement were revealed during the organization of the flight of the delegation of Bashkiria to Uzbekistan on the route Nukus-Samarkand-Tashkent. UTair requested 18.7 million rubles for the services, Jet Partners Aero – 14 million rubles, Skycopter – 21.1 million rubles. The auction received an application only from Skykopter, its results were summed up on May 18, and on May 27 the company entered into a state contract with the Ministry of Transport for 18.8 million rubles. The anti-competitive agreement was concluded and began to be implemented before the announcement of the electronic auction, the OFAS noted.
• Skycopter LLC was registered in 2020 in St. Petersburg. The founder and director is Dmitry Kotov. The company’s website says Skycopter operates a fleet of eight helicopters and three planes. In 2021, revenue amounted to 6.68 million rubles, profit – 8 thousand rubles.
According to the antimonopoly agency, the purpose of the purchases was to provide transport services “with a predetermined market entity on a non-competitive basis.”
The hearing of the case is scheduled for January 31.
Dmitry Kotov told Kommersant-Ufa that he had not been notified of the initiation of the case, and did not get acquainted with its materials. He declined to comment further.
The Ministry of Transport of Bashkiria did not promptly provide a comment.
According to open data, last year the Ministry of Transport spent about 80 million rubles from the republic’s budget on air travel for delegations.
Roman Rechkin, senior partner at Intellect law firm, notes that Russian legislation is quite loyal to government officials in such situations. “If the conclusion of an anticompetitive agreement is proved, they may be subject to an administrative fine in the amount of 20,000 to 50,000 rubles. or disqualification for up to three years. The latter is unlikely, ”the expert commented.