Final report of the Hearing Officer in case COMP/E-1/C.37.671 — Food Flavour Enhancers (pursuant to Article 15 of Commission Decision 2001/462/EC, ECSC of 23 May 2001 on the terms of reference of Hearing Officers in certain competition proceedings (OJ L 162, 19.6.2001, p. 21)) (Text with EEA relevance)
OJ C 64, 12.3.2004, p. 4–4 (ES, DA, DE, EL, EN, FR, IT, NL, PT, FI, SV)
DA DE EL EN ES FI FR IT NL PT SV
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Final report of the Hearing Officer in case COMP/E-1/C.37.671 - Food Flavour Enhancers
(pursuant to Article 15 of Commission Decision 2001/462/EC, ECSC of 23 May 2001 on the terms of reference of Hearing Officers in certain competition proceedings (OJ L 162, 19.6.2001, p. 21))
(Text with EEA relevance)
The Commission's investigation in this case was initiated following a statement submitted by Takeda Chemical Industries ("Takeda") to the Commission on 9 September 1999 in which it admitted participating in a world-wide cartel to fix prices and allocate quotas in nucleotides and claimed the benefit of the Commission notice on the non-imposition or reduction of fines in cartel cases (Leniency Notice)(1).
On 11 July 2002 the Commission sent a statement of objections to Ajinomoto Company Inc ("Ajinomoto"), Takeda, Daesang Corporation ("Daesang") and Cheil Jedang Corporation ("Cheil"). Takeda and Cheil responded in writing on 17 September 2002. Daesang and Ajinomoto responded in writing on 20 and 27 September 2002 having requested and been granted extensions to these dates. None of the parties requested an oral hearing.
On 10 September 2002 Ajinomoto submitted a request to the Hearing Officer for access to additional market information on the file, for which confidentiality had been requested by certain parties, and to which access had been rejected by the relevant Commission service dealing with the case. In response, Ajinomoto was granted access to certain information provided in a non-confidential format. A further request made by Ajinomoto for access to more specific individual information was not granted, however, in the meantime at least one party had further substantiated its request for confidentiality; and the information was considered, on balance, not to be essential in order for Ajinomoto to be able to exercise its rights of defence.
In the light of the observations submitted by the parties in their responses to the statement of objections, the duration of the infringement is reduced (to varying degrees) for all parties concerned as compared to the statement of objections. By letters of 13 and 21 November 2002 the relevant Commission service provided Ajinomoto with a further opportunity to comment on the duration of the alleged infringement. Ajinomoto provided observations to this effect on 29 November 2002.
The rights to be heard have been respected in this case. The draft decision does not contain objections to which the parties have not had the opportunity to respond.
Done at Brussels, 10 December 2002.
(1) OJ C 207, 18.7.1996.