The Spanish Supreme Court confirms that the CNMC (Comisión Nacional de los Mercados y la Competencia) dawn raid in Altadis in 2017 was illegal.
The Court has ratified the judgment handed down by the National High Court in May 2021 that declared the search carried out by the CNMC in the offices of Altadis, the owner of Fortuna, null and void, forcing the company to return the documentation obtained and to remove it from the file against it and other tobacco companies.
The process dates back to 2017, when the CNMC investigated the country’s main tobacco companies for anti-competitive practices, a procedure that ended in 2019 with the initiation of a fine of €57.7 million in total.
Altadis appealed the inspection carried out at its offices before the CNMC and, later, before the National High Court (Audiencia Nacional). This court declared it null and void in May 2021 on the grounds that it was contrary to the right to inviolability of the home, as the inspectors had avoided answering both the company’s lawyers and external lawyers.
Now, following an appeal by the CNMC, the Supreme Court has once again ruled in favour of the tobacco company, in a ruling dated 28 February, reiterating, as did the National High Court, that “the concealment of information that is undoubtedly relevant to the inspected company cannot be considered in accordance with the guidelines of loyalty, good faith and transparency required of administrative action”.
The Allen & Overy Spain team involved in the matter was made up of partner Antonio Martínez Sánchez, counsel Jaime Rodríguez, and senor associates Enrique Ferrer Poggio and Leopoldo Reaño García.