EU probes possible salmon farm price-fixing
European competition authorities carried out a number of unannounced inspections at the premises of several companies involved in farming Atlantic salmon, the Commission announced yesterday.
The Department of Agriculture in Ireland said it was unaware of any inspections being carried out here.
The inspections were carried out across an unspecified number of member states on foot of EU Commission concerns that inspected businesses may have violated European Union competition rules banning cartels and restrictive business.
A spokesperson for the Commission said it does not comment on the names of the companies or on the member states where inspections took place.
Unannounced inspections are a preliminary investigatory step into suspected anti-competitive practices. "The fact that the Commission carries 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," the Commission said.
"The Commission respects the rights of defence, in particular the right of companies to be heard in antitrust proceedings."
There is no legal deadline to complete inquiries. Duration depends on a number of factors, including case complexity, the extent to which the companies concerned co-operate with the Commission, and the exercise of defence.