The European Commission ("Commission") imposed fines of in total €13.6 million on three companies for operating a cartel in the water management production sector (expansion vessels and other equipment to manage water streams). The alleged cartel essentially covered only the German market. It existed only of the exchange of commercially sensitive information on a bilateral basis. The exchange of commercially sensitive information took place in a period of less than two years. The EU Commissioner for competition law, Mr. Almunia, emphasized that "whatever the scope or duration" of an infringement, there is no safe haven for cartel behaviour.
The fact that the Commission dealt with this case is in any case interesting because the alleged three party cartel covered the territory of only one Member State (Germany). Since the case was initiated on the basis of a leniency application, it may be inferred that the leniency applicant originally came to the Commission with the suggestion of a broader cartel. The ultimate decision notes that the exchange of commercially sensitive information between two of the three participants covered thirteen EU Member States other than Germany during a brief period (three months).