The Spanish Competition Authority (CNMC) revealed on 13 February 2015 that it had carried out dawn raids at the premises of several undertakings dealing with the transportation and handling of cash.
The dawn raids took place on 10 to 12 February 2015, motivated by suspected anti-competitive conduct in the sector. The CNMC has concerns that the companies involved carried out anti-competitive activities, including agreements to share clients and to fix prices and other commercial conditions in Spain. However, the CNMC has not confirmed whether the initial suspects were identified via the leniency programme or other channels of information.
The CNMC was supported by officials in the competition authorities of the Spanish autonomous regions where the targeted companies are located.
The dawn raids are a preliminary step in the investigation procedure and do not prejudge the outcome of the case. After analysing the information gathered, the CNMC may decide to formally open infringement proceedings if it has serious concerns of anti-competitive conduct in the sector. During these 18-month proceedings, the CNMC will gather and analyse information and allow the targeted companies to present their defence against the allegations. Once the infringement proceedings are complete, the CNMC may adopt a decision stating that the conduct is considered to be in conflict with the Spanish Competition Act 15/2007 and issue the relevant undertakings with fines of up to 10% of their annual turnover in the previous year.
The investigation and dismantling of cartels are the main objectives of the CNMC under competition law, as cartels are considered to be significantly detrimental for both consumers and markets.