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Brussels, 5th May, 2008

Antitrust: Commission confirms sending Statement of Objections to alleged participants in a marine hoses cartel

The European Commission can confirm that a Statement of Objections has been sent to a number of companies active in the supply of marine hoses, concerning their alleged participation in a cartel in violation of EU rules on restrictive business practices (Article 81 of the EC Treaty and Article 53 of the Agreement on the European Economic Area).

Marine hoses are used to transport crude oil and petroleum products, for example for loading and unloading tanker ships.

Surprise inspections were carried out by the Commission in May 2007 at the premises of several marine hoses producers (see MEMO/07/163).

Procedural background

A Statement of Objections is a formal step in Commission antitrust investigations in which the Commission informs the parties concerned in writing of the objections raised against them. The addressee of a Statement of Objections can reply in writing to the Statement of Objections, setting out all facts known to it which are relevant to its defence against the objections raised by the Commission. The party may also request an oral hearing to present its comments on the case.

The Commission may then take a decision on whether conduct addressed in the Statement of Objections is compatible or not with the EC Treaty’s antitrust rules. Sending a Statement of Objections does not prejudge the final outcome of the procedure.

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