Water and energy multinationals have been fined and/or investigated by the European Commission for a number of competition offences. These include possible attempts to cover up evidence of wrong-doing.
In April 2010 the EC raided the premises of a number of French water and waste companies because of suspicion of cartels in these sectors in France. France itself has fined the companies in the past for anti-competitive practices in these sectors. In July 2010 the EC has opened a prosecution against Suez Environnement for 'breaking seals' fixed during the raids, which could have been done to try and cover up evidence:
" The European Commission (Commission) has opened formal proceedings against French group Suez Environnement over an alleged breach of a seal affixed to an office during an on-site inspection. The Commission carried out the inspection in April at the premises of the French group's subsidiary, Lyonnaise des Eaux. This is the second time this month that the Commission has commenced proceedings for conduct which is considered to interfere or hamper a dawn raid, sending out a strong signal that the Commission is not prepared to tolerate any form of obstruction. During April 2010 the Commission carried out surprise inspections in France at the premises of various companies operating in the water and waste water sectors, including Lyonnaise des Eaux, based on suspicions of anti-competitive practices in the sector."
E.on has previously been fined for the same offence:
"In January 2008 the Commission fined E.ON €38 million for such a breach (although this decision is currently on appeal)."
In 2009 Both GdF-Suez and E.on were fined €553million each for an agreement not to compete in gas supplies in each others countries.
In 2008 the EC ordered Hungary to terminate power purchase agreements with seven companies, including GdF-Suez, RWE, EdF and AES, and for the companies to repay to the Hungarian state utility, MVM, the amount of illegal state aid they had received as a result of these long-term exclusive 'take-or-pay' guarantees.
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France: Commission Opens Formal Proceedings Against Suez For Alleged Breach Of A Seal. Article by SJ Berwin's EU & Competition Team 17 June 2010 http://www.mondaq.com/article.asp?articleid=102812
The Guardian (London) July 9, 2009 Thursday Brussels fines energy companies £1bn for cartel http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2009/jul/08/gas-company-fines-european-commission
Hungary terminates power purchase agreements with private generators