Antitrust: Commission carries out unannounced inspections in the defence sector

On 23 November 2021, the European Commission is conducting unannounced inspections at the premises of a company active in the defence sector.

The Commission has concerns that the inspected company may have violated EU antitrust rules that prohibit cartels and restrictive business practices (Article 101 of the Treaty of the Functioning of the European Union). The Commission officials were accompanied by a counterpart from the relevant national competition authority.

Unannounced inspections are a preliminary step in an investigation into suspected anticompetitive practices. The fact that the Commission carries out such inspections does not mean that the company is guilty of anti-competitive behaviour nor does it prejudge the outcome of the investigation itself.

The Commission fully respects the rights of defence in its antitrust proceedings, in particular the right of companies to be heard.

The inspections have been conducted in compliance with all coronavirus health and safety protocols to ensure the security of those involved.

There is no legal deadline to complete inquiries into anticompetitive conduct. Their duration depends on a number of factors, including the complexity of each case, the extent to which the undertakings concerned cooperate with the Commission and the scope of the exercise of the rights of defence.

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