Key facts of the case:
Between 1998 and 2004, on the market for gas insulated switchgear there was active an international cartel, involving several european and Japanese undertakings. This cartel was uncovered in 2004 and provoked activities both on the national level by Czech authorities and on the EU level by the Commission.
Results (sanctions) and key consequences of the case:
- The provisions of Article 81 EC and Article 3(1) of Council Regulation (EC) No 1/2003 of 16 December 2002 on the implementation of the rules on competition laid down in Articles 81 and 82 of the Treaty must be interpreted as meaning that, in the context of a proceeding initiated after 1 May 2004, they do not apply to a cartel which produced effects, in the territory of a Member State which acceded to the Union on 1 May 2004, during periods prior to that date. 2. The opening by the European Commission of a proceeding against a cartel under Chapter III of Regulation No 1/2003 does not, pursuant to Article 11(6) of Regulation No 1/2003, read in combination with Article 3(1) of the same regulation, cause the competition authority of the Member State concerned to lose its power, by the application of national competition law, to penalise the anti-competitive effects produced by that cartel in the territory of the said Member State during periods before the accession of the latter to the European Union 3. The ne bis in idem principle does not preclude penalties which the national competition authority of the Member State concerned imposes on undertakings participating in a cartel on account of the anti-competitive effects to which the cartel gave rise in the territory of that Member State prior to its accession to the European Union, where the fines imposed on the same cartel members by a Commission decision taken before the decision of the said national competition.