COMPETITION • EUROPEAN LAW • PROCEDURE
The undertaking under investigation is obliged to cooperate with the authorized officials of the Commission under penalty of a fine.
In the event of a request for information, it must provide the information requested by the Commission. A passive attitude or the provision of only part of the information requested is a refusal to cooperate. The extent of the duty to cooperate depends on the purpose of the investigation as specified in the request. Therefore, in order to assess the scope of its obligation to cooperate, the undertaking must refer to the legal basis and the purpose of the request as stated by the Commission. The undertaking must not only provide the information requested within the time-limit set by the Commission, but also provide it in full. However, the undertaking may not be compelled, by virtue of its duty of active cooperation, to obtain information from third parties.
The undertaking must also cooperate with the inspection, in particular by presenting the required records or other professional documents in full, by not denying access to its premises to the Commission inspectors before the arrival of their attorneys, by allowing the investigating officers access to the offices of its directors, or by allowing the temporary blocking of email accounts, the disconnection of computers from the network and the uninstalling and reinstalling of hard drives, etc. It must not object to these actions and must notify the employees concerned.
The provision of incomplete, inaccurate or misleading information, as well as the refusal to submit to an inspection, may be subject to a periodic penalty payment not exceeding 5% of the average daily turnover in the preceding business year per day of delay and calculated from the date appointed by the decision. The undertaking is also liable to a fine of up to 1% of its total turnover in the previous business year.