Press release – Competition Authority conducts search of food sector establishments
In response to questions from the press regarding our actions today, the Competition Authority would like to issue the following statement:
The Competition Authority has today conducted dawn raids in the offices of two retailers and three importers and wholesalers of food products. The occasion for these actions was provided by information received by the Competition Authority and obtained from various individuals and businesses following media discussion of the food market some days ago. In a press release issued on November 1st of this year, the Competition Authority encouraged anyone who believed they might have information concerning violation of competition law to forward such information to the Authority; there has been considerable response to this encouragement.
The investigation that has now been launched focuses in particular on alleged violations of Article 10 of the Competition Act, i.e. possible collusion between retailers and suppliers. The current investigation comes in addition to other enquiries that are currently in progress and have previously been made public.
The Competition Authority will conduct the newly launched investigation as swiftly as possible, but it is clear that the enquiry is extensive and that it will take some time to analyse the information obtained.
It should be noted that the swift resolution of the case will depend largely on whether the businesses or individuals concerned decide to assist the Authority in its investigation. In the event that there has been a violation, the Competition Authority is permitted by law to refrain from imposing a fine on the undertaking that was the first to come forward with information or documents relating to collusion which can serve as proof of unlawful practices. The Authority is also permitted to reduce fines on undertakings that assist the Authority by providing important evidence. Furthermore, the Competition Authority may decide not to report to the police potential violations by individuals who expose unlawful practices and assist in the investigation. Undertakings and individuals who may have participated in illegal practices therefore have a clear benefit from assisting the Authority, which in turn can result in speedier proceedings. Further information is available on the website of the Competition Authority.
At this stage, the Competition Authority is not prepared to provide further information on the investigation.