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THE LATEST: Acting AAG Clarifies Scope of Amnesty for Executives

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) Antitrust Division (the Division) offers leniency to the first company to contact the Division and acknowledge participation in an antitrust conspiracy such as price-fixing, bid-rigging or market allocation. The Division’s leniency program requires the applicant to fully cooperate with the government’s investigation and to candidly acknowledge its wrongdoing, among other requirements. In return, the successful applicant receives a pass from corporate criminal exposure and also receives immunity for its officers, directors and executives. The leniency program is the crown jewel of the Division’s enforcement regime because of its demonstrated success generating new cases. The program’s ability to attract applicants is based on its transparency and predictability. The level of trust required for companies to air their criminal wrongdoing to prosecuting authorities is not automatic. It has been earned over the years by a program...

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U.S. Senators Debate Toughening Cartel Penalties

On November 14, 2013, members of the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights heard arguments regarding the effectiveness of current cartel prosecution and punishment strategies in deterring cartel conduct.  In her opening remarks, Senator Amy Klobuchar, chair of the Subcommittee on Antitrust, called price-fixing the most egregious form of antitrust violations.  “Cartels have no other purpose than to rob consumers,” Klobuchar stated. At the hearing, William Baer, assistant attorney general for the Department of Justice (DOJ) Antitrust Division, highlighted the Division’s efforts to prosecute cartels over the last decade. Under the Antitrust Division’s recent aggressive enforcement efforts, the DOJ obtained record fines and jail time against corporations and individual corporate officers for cartels conduct.  In 2013, the DOJ obtained $1.02 billion in fines and filed 50 cases against cartels,...

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