Sweden’s Antitrust Agency Sues Nasdaq OMX for Market Abuse

The Swedish Competition Authority is taking legal action against Nasdaq OMX Group Inc., claiming the company’s Stockholm exchange abused its market dominance to the detriment of a competitor.

The agency wants Nasdaq OMX to pay 31 million kronor ($3.7 million) in penalties and administrative fines, according to a statement on Thursday.

The alleged abuse occurred after European Union markets were deregulated in 2007. Burgundy, a trading platform that had subsequently sought access to a data center in Stockholm, was blocked by Nasdaq through “coercive methods,” the antitrust agency said.

“As Burgundy were forced to place their matching engine in another data center, their competitive position in relation to Nasdaq OMX was weakened,” the agency said.

While Burgundy was one of the first alternative venues to try to establish itself after the EU freed up the market, it failed to establish a niche. The owner of Oslo’s stock exchange closed the trading venue last month after buying Burgundy, a venue for Swedish, Danish and Finnish equities, from a group of banks in 2013.

Nasdaq said it can’t discuss such cases while they’re being handled.

“This is an ongoing process that we don’t comment on,” Christina Malmberg Haegerstrand, a spokeswoman for Nasdaq OMX in Stockholm, said by phone on Thursday. “We have cooperated with the Swedish Competition Authority during their investigation and we will continue to cooperate on this matter.”

The authority’s investigation into Nasdaq’s market dominance was triggered by a complaint from Burgundy. After securing evidence in a June 2011 dawn raid, the antitrust agency concluded that Nasdaq had acted improperly.

“For Burgundy and its clients, this did not end well, as Burgundy no longer exists,” it said.

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