On 1 March 2011, the Spanish Competition Authority ('CNC') Council resolved that the behaviour of Grafoplas del Noroeste, S.A. ('Grafoplas') in the course of an inspection carried out by the CNC's officials on 27 October 2010 at Grafoplas' premises in Culleredo (Coruña), constituted obstruction of an inspection.
The Investigations Division was acting in accordance with a Court order authorising the inspection. In the course of the inspection, some documents relevant to the investigation disappeared. As a result of this, on 3 February 2011, the CNC's Investigations Division opened proceedings against Grafoplas on the ground that the conduct constituted an obstruction of an inspection (as prohibited under Article 62.2.e) of the Spanish Competition Act 15/2007 ('SCA')).
Article 40 of the SCA provides the CNC with wide powers of inspection for the consistent implementation of the SCA. CNC's officials have the status of "law enforcement agents" and are entitled to carry out all necessary searches of businesses and business associations, which are in turn required to collaborate and undergo the inspections authorised by the Director of the CNC's Investigations Division.
Article 62.2.e) of the SCA classes obstructing an inspection as a minor infringement. Therefore, the CNC's Council decided to impose a fine of €161,000
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