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PR(08)04: Statement on EFTA Surveillance Authority inspection


The EFTA Surveillance Authority can confirm that on 29-30 January 2008, officials from the EFTA Surveillance Authority and the European Commission, assisted by national competition authorities, carried out unannounced inspections at the premises of EEA providers of ship classification services for merchant ships. The European Commission has reason to believe that the companies concerned may have violated the competition rules of the EEA Agreement and EC Treaty.

Inspection by the EFTA Surveillance Authority was carried out at the request of the European Commission, the latter being the competent surveillance authority under the EEA Agreement to review the evidence gathered in this case. Information obtained will thus be transmitted to the Commission.

Surprise inspections are a preliminary step in investigations into suspected restricted practices. The fact that the EFTA Surveillance Authority and the European Commission carry out such inspections does not mean that the companies are guilty of anti-competitive behaviour; nor does it prejudge the outcome of the investigation itself.

There is no strict deadline to complete antitrust inquiries. Their duration depends on a number of factors, including the complexity of each case, the extent to which the undertakings concerned co-operate and the exercise of the rights of defence.

For further information, please contact:
Mr. Amund Utne
Director, Competition and State Aid Directorate
Tel. (+32)(0)2 286 18 50

30 January 2008

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