The Greek Competition Authority recently imposed fines on two companies operating in the construction and concrete production sector as they had breached their obligation to fully cooperate with them during the inspection conducted by its agents, in particular, by not disclosing all relevant documents to them.
In this case, the investigators discovered during their inspection that a lot of electronic files had been deleted from the computer of a top level employee, who, moreover, was a member of the Board of Directors. The Greek Competition Authority thus called on a scientific expert and instructed him to inspect the hard drive of the searched computer in order to salvage all deleted files.
This decision illustrates once again that the national authorities have elaborate technical means to obtain proof of anti-competitive practices and will no longer hesitate to punish those who obstruct said gathering of evidence. In France, the Hamon Bill considerably increases penalties in the event of obstruction by increasing the prison sentence incurred from six months to two years and the fine from € 7,500 to €300,000.