All businesses can be subject to unannounced inspections or dawn raids by the European Commission and national competition authorities. If there is a reasonable suspicion that records related to the inspection are being kept elsewhere, inspections can be made at those premises too.

The way in which a dawn raid is handled can have very significant consequences, both for an organisation’s reputation and also for its market value. Fines can be imposed and enhanced where cooperation is inadequate and failure to secure privileged documents can also prejudice rebuttal and defence. We protect you by helping you to be prepared for a dawn raid so you're able to act quickly and decisively if one occurs.

Preparation means ensuring that your appropriate staff have the right training. As the frontline interface, your security and reception personnel need to know what to say and who to call when officials first arrive. In-house counsel, IT support, the press office and other key personnel also need to know their respective responsibilities should a raid take place. This is important because failure to comply with the duty of cooperation can result in fines being imposed or can count as an aggravating factor when the penalties are being calculated.

Our teams in all our offices have extensive experience in helping our clients minimise the risk that they will attract unwanted regulatory attention, and ensuring they are prepared for any inspection that occurs. We can carry out a compliance audit to identify risk factors, provide dawn raid ‘first aid kits’, provide an immediate response to a raid, or offer follow-on protection.

We have worked with energy companies, trading houses, mobile operators, food sector clients, airlines and shipping companies.


Notable deals / highlights

  • Advised a leading producer of automotive parts in a multi-product EU investigation into an alleged global price-fixing cartel, coordinating with counsel across many jurisdictions, including the US and Japan.
  • Advised a leading shipping company on an EU Commission investigation into suspected cartel of maritime services to the car industry (e.g. specialist car carrier ships, involving the EU, Japan, the US and other jurisdictions.
  • Advised a major Japanese Bank in connection with an international cartel investigation into the fixing of LIBOR and TIBOR rates. This was a highly significant, high profile international investigation that resulted in very substantial settlement payments in some jurisdictions.
  • Advised an international corporate services provider specialising in travel on a Belgian national cartel investigation.
  • Successfully defended All Nippon Airways, the global Japanese airline, on an air cargo fuel surcharge cartel case. In fact we successfully defended three carriers in the case, which involved 25 airlines.

Expertise spotlight