BRUSSELS (AP) -- The European Union court ruled Tuesday that EU regulators had the right to prevent South African giant De Beers from buying rough diamonds from Russian rival Alrosa in 2006.
The judgment upholds antitrust agency's deal with De Beers to set aside a 2001 agreement to buy gems worth $800 million from Alrosa every year for five years.
The European Commission said these sales would damage competition and, under threat of heavy fines, extracted a commitment from De Beers to phase out purchases from Alrosa between 2006 and 2008.
Alrosa complained to the EU appeals court and won its case, annulling the EU ban on gem sales. The lower court said regulators went too far in stopping the sales.
The new ruling from the EU's highest judicial authority says companies that make an agreement with regulators "consciously accept" that any commitment can go beyond what the EU can force it to do.
De Beers controls about 60 percent of the world's rough diamond supplies and produces 43 percent of world output. Alrosa is the world's second-largest rough diamond producer.
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