Key facts of the case:
Appeal – Competition – Cartels – European market for submarine and underground power cables – Market allocation in connection with projects – Single and continuous infringement – Succession of legal entities – Attributability of unlawful conduct – Principle of equal treatment – Distortion of evidence – Regulation (EC) No 1/2003 – Article 20 – European Commission’s powers of inspection in cartel proceedings – Power to copy data without a prior examination and to examine the data subsequently at the Commission’s premises – Fines.
Outcome of the case:
On those grounds, the Court (Second Chamber) hereby:
101) It must be recalled that the principle of equal treatment is a general principle of EU law, enshrined in Articles 20 and 21 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. According to settled case-law of the Court, that principle requires that comparable situations must not be treated differently and that different situations must not be treated in the same way unless such treatment is objectively justified (see, inter alia, judgment of 12 November 2014, Guardian Industries and Guardian Europe v Commission, C‑580/12 P, EU:C:2014:2363, paragraph 51).