The FCCA proposes a penalty payment of approximately EUR 4.4 million for Attendo for obstructing an inspection carried out on the company’s premises

The Finnish Competition and Consumer Authority (FCCA) proposes that the Market Court imposes a penalty payment of approximately EUR 4.4 million on Attendo Suomi Oy. Attendo obstructed an inspection carried out by the FCCA under the Competition Act when one of its employees deleted data from their work phone after the inspection had started.

The FCCA carried out unannounced inspections at Attendo, some other care services providers and the sector’s trade association starting from 12 January 2023. The purpose of the inspections was to find out whether the companies had engaged in cooperation prohibited by the Competition Act in the market for care services for the elderly. In January, the FCCA announced its investigation into suspected anticompetitive conduct.

Under the Competition Act, the FCCA can carry out unannounced inspections of companies if it suspects a competition infringement. The FCCA can inspect all documents relating to the business of the company, including the company’s communications.

During the January 2023 inspection, an Attendo employee whose communications were to be examined deleted work-related WhatsApp conversations and a call log from their phone. The inspections carried out by the FCCA focus mainly on electronic communications in digital form, which underlines the seriousness of the infringement, as digital material is easily destructible.

After the deletion of the data was noticed, Attendo cooperated with the FCCA to recover the deleted conversations. The FCCA took the cooperation into account in the amount of the penalty payment to be proposed for Attendo.

First penalty payment proposal for an infringement of procedural rules

Since June 2021, the FCCA has been able to propose a penalty payment for an undertakingfor a breach of procedural rules. The penalty for a procedural infringement may not exceed 1% of the company’s turnover. This is the first time that the FCCA has proposed a penalty payment for a procedural infringement.

"Obstruction of an inspection by deleting data is a reprehensible and serious offence. A company can be fined up to 10% of its turnover for a competition law infringement under the Competition Act; therefore, it should not be tempting for a company to try to avoid a possible penalty payment by destroying data after an inspection has started.”

Director General Timo Mattila

The FCCA proposes a penalty payment of EUR 4,373,760 for Attendo. The Market Court will decide on the imposition of the penalty payment.

Further information 

Juuli Broms

Director, Head of Department

Pekka Mattila

Head of Research

Vilhelmiina Ihamäki

Senior Adviser

Petra Liesvirta-Putkonen

Senior Specialist