Antitrust & Competition Policy Blog

Editor: D. Daniel Sokol
University of Florida
Levin College of Law

Friday, April 13, 2012

Seal Breaking—Practical Compliance Lessons from Recent Cases

Posted by D. Daniel Sokol

Anne Riley (Shell) Seal Breaking—Practical Compliance Lessons from Recent Cases.

ABSTRACT: A breach of a seal affixed by the European Commission during an unannounced inspection (or ‘dawn raid’) of itself constitutes a serious infringement of European competition law which is likely to attract a very heavy fine.

There is no requirement on the European Commission to show any intention on the part of a company being investigated to breach the seal, or to show evidence that documents were actually taken from the site.

The article considers the factual differences in the European Commission's reported decisions fining companies for obstruction by tampering with a European Commission seal affixed during a dawn raid.

The article seeks to draw out some practical suggestions that companies and their advisors may wish to take into account when dealing with antitrust investigations.

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