The dairy Mjólkursamsalan (MS) and its subsidiaries Audhumla and Osta- og Smjörsalan announced last week that they had filed a lawsuit against Iceland’s Competition Authority in relation to an investigation into MS’ operations.
The lawsuit demanded that the Competition Authority’s director, Páll Gunnar Pálsson, discontinue his participation in the case, which began with a search of MS’ headquarters in Reykjavík on June 5 due to suspicions of violations of competition regulations, Fréttabladid reports.
“The director of the Competition Authority has made several comments about the dairy industry in public. Therefore we believe that he cannot handle our case objectively,” CEO of MS Gudbrandur Sigurdsson said.
Sigurdsson said MS demands Pálsson declare himself incapable of participating in the investigation of MS, otherwise MS will take the case to the District Court. MS also demands other employees of the Competition Authority resign from the investigation.
“Neither I nor other employees of the Competition Authority have any reason to resign because we are not at all incapable of participating in the investigation,” Pálsson said.
Last year the Competition Authority submitted a proposal to Gudni Ágústsson, who served as Minister of Agriculture at the time, that Ágústsson would enforce amendments in the competition regulations that include dairy product companies being exempt from laws on mergers.
Pálsson said the proposal is completely unrelated to the alleged violations of competition regulations currently being investigated at MS.