BRUSSELS, July 24 (Reuters) – Austrian energy drinks maker Red Bull has contested EU antitrust raids conducted against the company four months ago, saying regulators’ allegations of anti-competitive behaviour are “manifestly unfounded”.
Companies have been increasingly willing to take the EU competition enforcer to court over what they say are procedural mis-steps and breaches of their rights, especially after Europe’s top court earlier this year upheld appeals by three French retailers against EU dawn raids.
The European Commission in its March statement said the raided company, which it did not identify, may have violated EU antitrust rules against cartels and abuse of a dominant position.
Red Bull, which subsequently confirmed the raids, wants Europe’s second highest court to annul the Commission’s decision ordering the raids and to return all documents taken from its premises.
“The allegations contained therein are manifestly unfounded,” Red Bull said in its appeal to the Luxembourg-based General Court.
“The Commission did not appear to have sufficient indications of anti-competitive behaviour at the time of the adoption of its decision to justify an inspection,” it said.
The company also criticised the EU watchdog’s raids of its Brussels premises for an unlimited period, saying this “interferes excessively with the applicants’ rights”.
Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by Barbara Lewis
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.