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THE LATEST: DOJ’s Packaged Seafood Probe Yields Conditional Leniency Applicant

On Monday, September 11, Tri-Union Seafoods LLC, the US subsidiary of Thai Union Group, announced it blew the whistle on competitors in the US Department of Justice’s (DOJ) investigation of the packaged seafood industry. The “Chicken of the Sea” canned tuna manufacturer also said it received conditional leniency from DOJ in exchange for its cooperation.

WHAT HAPPENED:
  • In 2015, DOJ began investigating the packaged seafood industry for anticompetitive conduct, including price fixing. DOJ’s investigation followed a failed merger between Thai Union and Bumble Bee Foods LLC.
  • In June 2017, a former StarKist Co. sales executive pleaded guilty to price fixing.
  • Private plaintiffs filed class action complaints in October 2016 alleging antitrust violations in the packaged seafood industry. The private plaintiffs represent grocery retailers who sold packaged tuna to US consumers.
WHAT THIS MEANS:
  • Despite the significant costs of participating in DOJ’s Corporate Leniency Program, leniency recipients continue to receive significant value for their cooperation. Conditional leniency recipients like Tri-Union and their employees will not face criminal fines, jail time or prosecution.
  • Full cooperation with DOJ’s program will place heavy demands on leniency applicants, including gathering and translating foreign documents, bringing foreign witnesses to the United States for interviews and testimony, and providing several attorney proffers.
  • It is critical to have a robust compliance program in place to detect any potential or actual violations of antitrust law. Such a program will allow a company to investigate any potential misconduct and, if necessary, report it to DOJ. Time is of the essence when seeking leniency with DOJ’s Corporate Leniency Program.
  • Companies contemplating acquisitions should consider whether any problematic antitrust conduct could arise during the merger review and result in a subsequent criminal investigation.



China’s Latest Enforcement of the Anti-Monopoly Law and Price Supervision/Regulation

by John Z.L. Huang,  Alex An, Bryan Fu and Cook Xu

China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) recently outlined its latest efforts in the enforcement of the Anti-Monopoly Law and price supervision.  This newsletter summarizes the noteworthy information NDRC disclosed.

Click here to read the full article.




China Auto Dealers Association Files Anti-Monopoly Complaint Against Beijing Benz

by Henry L.T. Chen, Frank Schoneveld and Michael Xu

The China Automobile Dealers Association recently issued a formal complaint to Mercedes-Benz Beijing regarding its allegedly illegal “double limit” policy for car dealers—minimum prices and restrictions on sales into other dealers` territories—revealing tension between a widespread industry practice and China’s Anti-Monopoly Law. 

To read the full article, please visit: http://www.mwechinalaw.com/news/2011/chinalawalert0411a.htm.




First Cartel Fines in China Following New Regulations

by Henry L.T. Chen and Frank Schoneveld

China’s State Administration for Industry and Commerce has imposed the first fines for violation of the country’s Anti-Monopoly Law on a concrete cartel.  The swift action indicates business operators should anticipate more widespread and vigorous investigations by the newly empowered Chinese competition regulatory authorities.

To read the full article, please visit:  http://www.mwechinalaw.com/news/2011/chinalawalert0211c.htm.
 




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