Public procurement contract with the Mediapro Group

Public procurement contract with the Mediapro Group

It has recently come to our attention that the Commission has awarded the Mediapro Group a four-year contract for satellite distribution of the channels EbS and EbS+, which are produced by the Commission.

In 2018, the Mediapro Group was convicted in the United States of using its US subsidiary to bribe football federations in order to get the television rights in South America. It was ordered to pay a fine of USD 24 million as a result. Cases relating to this are still pending against some of its executives.

Article 57 of Directive 2014/24/EU states that corruption and fraud are grounds for excluding a company from a public procurement procedure.

On 19 May 2020, Spanish Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Jorge Buxade Villalba of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group, filed a written parliamentary question to the European Commission. MEP Buxade Villalba asked the Commission “was it aware of these facts” and “does it plan to take any measures in this regard?”

Lastly, the Spanish MEP enquired “what procedures are followed in the Commission to prevent contracts being awarded to companies that have been convicted of corruption and fraud?”

On 24 November, Commissioner Johannes Hahn, responsible for Budget and Administration, responded on behalf of the European Commission. He reported that “immediately after the Commission became aware on 05 September 2018 of the United States investigation involving two companies of the MediaPro group, it initiated proceedings before the Panel referred to in Article 143 of the Financial Regulation to protect the EU’s financial interests”.

He further clarified that “as a result, the parent company was excluded from participation in EU procurement and grant award procedures for a period of two years, and it is currently registered in the Early Detection and Exclusion Database” and “two cases are pending before the Court of Justice of the EU in relation to this exclusion decision: Case T-268/19 and Case T-269/19”.

Commissioner Hahn further reported that “the Commission also terminated Europe by Satellite (EbS) contract with the parent company and initiated proceedings against three other companies of the MediaPro group that have submitted tenders, including the procedure intended to find a new contractor for the EbS contract” and “these subsidiary companies are not liable to exclusion and the contract was awarded to the winner, which is a different legal entity than the excluded company”.

Commissioner Hahn underlined that “since 01 January 2016, the Commission uses the Early Detection and Exclusion System set forth under the Financial Regulation to reinforce the protection of the Union’s financial interests and to ensure sound financial management”.

Finally, Commissioner Johannes Hahn concluded that “in the absence of a final judgment or a final administrative decision, an authorising officer must refer a case to the Panel, which assesses the request, establishes the preliminary classification in law, ensures the rights of defence and makes a recommendation on a sanction” and “the competent authorising officer then takes the final decision (and must justify the decision if it deviates from the Panel’s recommendation)”.

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