Hearings in the second competition case involving the Estonian alcoholic beverage producer Liviko will be suspended for some time as the Prosecutor's Office has submitted an updated list of charges.
"The state prosecutor handed in new, updated statements of charges," spokespeople for the first-tier Harju County Court told BNS. "The court gave the defense time to study them and prepare their positions. The next hearing is planned for Nov. 15."
The defendants pleaded not guilty in the trial that began in August.
The Prosecutor's Office is accusing four individuals and Liviko of acting in concert in pricing in such a way that undermined competition. Of the physical persons, two were employees of Liviko and two employees of a business deleted from the commercial register. The criminal investigation was opened in 2014 and the act allegedly undermining competition was committed in 2011, according to the charge sheet.
Charges lodged against the accused parties concern communication allegedly undermining competition that occurred between Liviko and then employees of OÜ Aldar Eesti.
Liviko has denied any wrongdoing.
"The charges have been separated from the so-called retail chain competition case to prevent them from being dumped as a result of the expiration of the statute of limitations and they too have to do with an exchange of messages from about five years ago, so effectively this is not a new case," Erki Kergandberg, the lawyer representing Liviko, has previously stated.
Liviko had been charged previously as a business in the case popularly referred to as the vodka cartel case which the Tallinn Court of Appeals decided to terminate last year. The Chief Prosecutor's Office thereafter took the case to the Supreme Court, which ruled that the matter had not expired and ordered the circuit court to examine the case anew.
The circuit court is to announce its ruling on Dec. 15.
Editor: Editor: Aili Vahtla