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G4S, SEB, Swedbank, DNB Fined by Lithuanian Competition Body

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Dec. 20 (Bloomberg) -- Lithuania’s Competition Council fined local units of security company G4S Plc and lenders SEB AB, Swedbank AB, and DNB ASA for actions that it said prevented competition for cash management and transportation services.

Of fines totaling 57 million litai ($22 million), UAB G4S Lietuva must pay 9.4 million litai, AB SEB Bankas must pay 24.8 million litai, Swedbank AB must pay 14.2 million litai and AB DNB Bankas must pay 8.6 million litai, the Council in the capital Vilnius decided today, according to its website.

All four companies said they don’t think they violated competition rules and plan legal moves against the decision and the fine.

“We don’t share the Council’s conclusion,” Swedbank’s spokesman in Lithuania, Saulius Abraskevicius, said in an e-mailed response to questions. He said Swedbank will appeal the resolution in court by the Jan. 9 deadline.

Lithuania’s three largest banks had agreements with GS4 that unjustly shut out competing providers of cash-related security services, with potentially higher costs being passed on to customers, the Council said. It said the companies have already canceled the offending agreements.

Appeal Plans

SEB will also appeal the decision, it said in a statement on the website of the Nasdaq OMX Vilnius exchange.

“DNB Bankas always did and does abide by the principles of fair competition and never took part in any illicit agreements,” the unit’s spokesman, Andrius Vilkancas, said in an e-mailed response to questions. “The bank will seek to defend its position in court.”

G4S Lietuva is consulting with lawyers and maintains the position that it didn’t violate any competition rules, the company said in a statement on the BNS news service.

To contact the reporter on this story: Bryan Bradley in Vilnius at bbradley13@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net

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