White & Case has successfully represented the Bulgarian Energy Holding and its Bulgargaz and Bulgartransgaz subsidiaries before the European Union's General Court in a case that saw the full annulment of a 2018 decision by the European Commission and related EUR 77 million fine imposed for foreclosing the Bulgarian gas supply market.
According to the firm, the EC proceedings against the applicants began in 2013 following a complaint from Overgas, and a statement of objections was issued in 2015. The EC's decision was adopted in December 2018, following which the applicants filed an application to the General Court that, due to the magnitude and complexity of the case, took over four years to issue its judgment.
"In its judgment, the General Court annulled the EC's decision in full," White & Case reported. "This is the first time that the General Court has annulled all elements of an EC Article 102 decision primarily on the substance and in particular on grounds that there was no abuse and that the EC wrongly assessed the facts. The Court also found that the EC had infringed the applicants' rights of defense on multiple grounds, which further cemented the General Court's decision to annul."
"The case sets an important precedent for the application of competition law in the energy sector, EU procedural rules, and abuse of dominance generally," the firm announced.
The White & Case Brussels-based team was led by Partner Mark Powell.