United States: Cartels

The United States Department of Justice's Antitrust Division has continued to vigorously pursue criminal cartel activity and to bring to justice those who commit these crimes. The past year has demonstrated the Division's resolve to hold corporate and individual offenders accountable, to prosecute foreign offenders and to secure severe consequences to deter future violations.

This annual update begins with an enforcement data overview and is followed by a summary of notable policy and case developments related to cartel enforcement over the previous year.

Enforcement data

The Antitrust Division's commitment to prosecuting corporate cartel participants continued through fiscal year (FY) 2016, which saw charges brought against 19 corporate offenders in key sectors of the economy.1 The trend towards higher corporate fines shows no signs of declining with FY 2016 yielding more than US$399 million in criminal fines and penalties, and 2017 bringing some of the highest fines in the Division's history.2 The Division's message is clear that offenders will be held criminally responsible and that no company is too small or too big to be charged.

The Division has also continued to make individual accountability a critical component of its enforcement efforts, and to insist on prison sentences with increasing frequency and for longer periods of time. In the decade preceding 2010, the Division prosecuted more than twice as many individuals (453) as corporations (220), and this ratio has climbed to nearly three to one in the period since 2010 - 430 individual to 144 corporate prosecutions.3 In FY 2016, the Division charged 52 individuals and the average prison term for criminal antitrust violations is now 22 months - up from 20 months in the preceding decade.4

The Division's zeal extends to foreign offenders whose schemes harm American consumers or businesses, including those who attempt to evade the jurisdiction of US courts. In November 2016, the Division's then Acting Assistant Attorney General, Renata B Hesse, highlighted that '[t]he criminal program's reach extends outside the United States, and foreign-national fugitives feel its sting, too.'5 Five foreign executives have been extradited and convicted since 2010, including three in the past three years. Most recently, in October 2016, an Israeli national was extradited from Bulgaria on charges brought by Division prosecutors and he pleaded guilty to four counts in March 2017.6

Recent policy developments

Enforcement against individuals remains a high priority

In September 2015, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates directed the Department of Justice to focus on individual culpability in corporate investigations and to 'proactively investigat[e] individuals at every step of the process - before, during and after any corporate cooperation.'7 The memorandum underscores that 'the most effective ways to combat corporate misconduct is by seeking accountability from the individuals who perpetrated the wrongdoing.'8

Although the Antitrust Division's practice of prosecuting high-level culpable individuals whenever possible long predates the Yates memo, the Yates memo has brought even more focus to these efforts. In November 2016, former Acting Assistant Attorney General Hesse explained the Division's rationale: 'It's no secret that [the Division] believe[s] the most effective deterrent to antitrust felonies is prison time for those who commit them. But this does not mean that for us the Deputy Attorney General's directive was a redundancy. It was an opportunity to reflect on our practice and to refine how we assess cases against individuals.'9

Credit for corporate compliance programmes

In recent years, the Antitrust Division has shown signs of a potential shift in policy towards recommending reductions at the sentencing phase to take into consideration compliance programmes. The Division has been clear, however, that the burden of obtaining such relief remains very high and that it will credit such programmes only where they are meaningful and effective. Former Acting Assistant Attorney General Hesse explained last autumn that the Division remains 'unwilling to credit compliance programs that failed to detect or deter' cartel behaviour. 'The sentencing guidelines do not allow credit for nominal or ineffective programs, and if we're prosecuting your client, you'll have a difficult time arguing that its compliance program was neither,' she said.10

Credit for cooperation

The Antitrust Division remains sceptical of efforts to reduce corporate sentences based on the company's alleged inability to pay the fine called for by the Sentencing Guidelines but has softened its position to some extent. In the past, if a corporate offender's fine had been reduced because of the company's inability to pay, the Division did not offer any further reductions - to incentivise cooperation or otherwise. The Division changed its position in this regard recently and will 'now consider additional sentencing credit for companies that demonstrate inability to pay, but nevertheless provide valuable cooperation.'11

Guidance for human resource professionals

After bringing civil actions against a number of technology companies for allegedly agreeing to restrain competition with each other for employees, the Division in 2016 publicly made clear that going forward it intends to approach naked agreements between competitors not to compete for employees as potential criminal matters, and prosecute the culpable individuals and companies criminally if the evidence so warrants. Specifically, in October 2016, the Antitrust Division released new guidance intended to alert human resource professionals to potential violations of the antitrust laws.12 As part of this guidance, the Division stated that employers who conspire to suppress employee compensation, or who conspire not to solicit or hire each other's employees, will be investigated (and, if appropriate, prosecuted) criminally. 'Naked "no-poaching" agreements or agreements to fix wages stamp out competition just like agreements to allocate customers or to fix product prices, violations of the law that the Division has traditionally investigated criminally and prosecuted as hard-core cartel conduct,' said then Acting Assistant Attorney General Hesse.13 It is important to note that this guidance applies not just to firms who compete with each other in the sale of their output, but to any companies that compete with each other for the services of the same employees or classes of employees, regardless of whether they compete in the sale of goods or services.

Recent case developments

Auto parts

The Antitrust Division's largest-ever criminal investigation, which involves collaboration with enforcement efforts across a number of agencies in the United States and abroad, is in its eighth year and still under way. To date, a total of 65 individuals and 48 companies have been charged and have agreed to pay more than US$2.9 billion in criminal fines in connection with a series of far-reaching price-fixing, bid-rigging and market allocation conspiracies in the automotive industry.14 The schemes are alleged to have stretched for over two decades across several continents, and implicated many different products and culpable parties.

Most recently, in March 2017, Kiekert AG agreed to plead guilty and pay a US$6.1 million criminal fine for its role in the conspiracy.15 In the second half of 2016, four companies (Usui Kokusai Sangyo Kaisha Ltd, Alpha Corporation, Hitachi Automotive Systems Ltd and Nishikawa Rubber Co Ltd) agreed to plead guilty and pay more than US$200 million in corporate fines (US$7.2 million, US$9 million, US$55.48 million and US$130 million, respectively).16 All five companies also agreed to cooperate with the ongoing investigation.

Notably, Hitachi had previously pleaded guilty in 2013 and paid a US$195 million fine for fixing the price of starters, alternators and other electrical automotive components. At the time, Hitachi had received credit for cooperating in the Division's investigation, but in the course of providing that assistance, Hitachi failed to uncover that it had also participated in fixing the price of shock absorbers. Accordingly, the Division recommended a substantial increase in Hitachi's fine, as well as a probation period.17

LIBOR

As part of a cooperation effort among a number of law enforcement agencies, the Antitrust Division continues its investigation into London InterBank Offered Rate (LIBOR) manipulation schemes.

In March 2017, DB Group Services (UK) Limited (DBGS) was sentenced for its role in manipulating LIBOR, a global benchmark interest rate for many financial products. DBGS had signed a plea agreement with the government in 2015, admitting its wrongdoing and agreeing to pay a US$150 million fine, which the court accepted.18

In July 2016, a former Coöperatieve Centrale Raiffeisen-Boerenleenbank BA (Rabobank) trader who worked in Hong Kong and Singapore pleaded guilty for his role in conspiring to manipulate LIBOR to Rabobank's advantage.19

The Division's investigation into benchmark interest rate manipulation has included prior resolutions with six banks, including Rabobank and Deutsche Bank AG (DBGS's parent company), as well as Barclays Bank PLC, UBS AG, The Royal Bank of Scotland plc and Lloyds Banking Group plc. Thirteen individuals have also been charged: two have been convicted, four have pleaded guilty, and charges against the others are pending.

FX

In January 2017, two foreign currency exchange (FX) dealers pleaded guilty to conspiring to fix prices of certain currencies. Both were dealers of Central and Eastern European, Middle Eastern and African (CEEMEA) currencies on the FX desks of New York-based financial institutions.20

Also in January 2017, three individuals were charged for conspiring to fix prices and rig bids for the euro-US dollar currency pair and, in July 2016, two individuals were charged with fraud for conspiring to defraud a client of their bank through a collusive scheme.21

These individual charges and convictions follow guilty pleas by major banks in 2015: Citicorp, JPMorgan Chase & Co, Barclays PLC and The Royal Bank of Scotland plc pleaded guilty and agreed to collectively pay more than US$2.5 billion in criminal fines - including some of the highest fines in the Antitrust Division's history - for their participation in the conspiracy to manipulate the price of US dollars and euros exchanged in the FX spot market.22 In January 2017, a federal district court accepted the plea agreements and sentenced the banks accordingly.23

Capacitors

In February 2017, Matsuo Electric Co Limited agreed to plead guilty for conspiring with competitors for more than a decade to fix prices and rig bids for electrolytic capacitors, a critical component in a broad array of electronic products. One of Matsuo's executives also pleaded guilty - the first individual guilty plea in the Antitrust Division's investigation. In addition to pleading guilty and agreeing to cooperate in the ongoing investigation, Matsuo agreed to pay a criminal fine and the executive agreed to serve a prison term of one year and a day.24

Last autumn, nine individuals from five different companies were indicted25 and, in August 2016, Rubycon Corporation, Elna Co, Ltd and Holy Stone Holdings Co, Ltd agreed to plead guilty for their roles in the conspiracy. The companies also agreed to pay criminal fines and cooperate in the ongoing investigation.26 In June 2017, a federal judge rejected Elna's plea deal and proposed US$3.85 million fine - which included a US$10.5 million ability-to-pay discount and another US$600,000 discount for cooperation - as being 'too low.'27

A total of six companies and 10 individuals have now been charged for their participation in the capacitors conspiracy. All have pleaded or will plead guilty to the charges, which pleas have resulted in almost US$40 million in criminal fines.28

Public real estate foreclosure auctions

The Antitrust Division is continuing its investigations into bid rigging at public real estate foreclosure auctions in at least four different states. To date, the Division has obtained convictions (as a result of either guilty pleas or convictions following trial) against 82 individuals in California and indictments are pending against other investors who participated in these conspiracies. In Georgia, the Division obtained another 23 individual convictions, as well as one company conviction. Elsewhere in the South, the Division has prosecuted at least 15 defendants for rigging these auctions.

These ongoing investigations underscore the Division's commitment to pursuing local and regional investigations, in addition to more extensive national and international ones. Although these conspiracies are typically of a smaller scale than the international cartels discussed elsewhere in this article, they deprive homeowners, lenders and other financial institutions, and often the agencies of the US government that guaranteed the defaulted loans, of the benefits of open competition for these properties, and the Division has shown no inclination to relax its efforts on these matters.

Ocean shipping

In July 2016, Wallenius Wilhelmsen Logistics AS (WWL) agreed to plead guilty, pay a US$98.9 million criminal fine and cooperate with the Antitrust Division's ongoing investigation into an alleged decade-long conspiracy to fix prices of international ocean shipping services of 'roll-on, roll-off cargo,' such as cars, trucks and equipment.29 WWL is the fourth company to agree to plead guilty in the investigation, which has resulted in more than US$230 million in agreed-upon fines. The co-conspirators are accused of colluding to fix prices, allocate markets and routes, and not bid against each other for ocean shipments. In June 2017, three of WWL's former executives were charged,30 with a total of 11 executives having been charged to date; four have already pleaded guilty and been sentenced to prison, and charges remain pending against the others.

Online wall décor

In August 2016, online seller of wall décor Trod Ltd (d/b/a Buy 4 Less, Buy For Less and Buy-For-Less-Online) became the second defendant to plead guilty for its participation in fixing the prices of certain posters sold online through Amazon Marketplace. By agreeing to adopt specific pricing algorithms, the co-conspirators sought to offer the same prices to online shoppers and to coordinate changes in their respective prices.31 Trod represents the second-ever criminal prosecution for conduct that specifically targeted e-commerce. It is unlikely to be the last; as former Acting Assistant Attorney General Hesse noted, the Division's position is that the 'antitrust laws reach even crimes committed using algorithms in cyberspace.'32

Environmental services

A Canadian national and the former CEO of Bennett Environmental Inc, a company that specialises in the treatment and disposal of contaminated soil, was sentenced in August 2016 to serve 63 months in prison, and to pay a US$12,500 criminal fine and US$3.8 million in restitution. He was convicted earlier in the year, following a three-week trial in March 2016. He had previously been extradited in 2014 from Canada to the United States in connection with a conspiracy to pay more than US$1 million in kickbacks and corrupt the procurement process with respect to Environmental Protection Agency Superfund site. The Antitrust Division's ongoing investigation has so far resulted in the conviction of 10 individuals and three companies, and more than US$6 million in criminal fines and restitution have been imposed. Seven of the individuals have been sentenced to serve prison terms ranging from five months to 14 years.33

Small business construction contracts

In April 2017, following a guilty plea last autumn,34 an officer of Far East Construction Corporation and other construction companies was sentenced to serve six months in prison and 24 months of supervised release. She was also ordered to pay a US$35,000 criminal fine and forfeiture in the amount of US$169,166. The individual conspired with MCC Construction Company and others to illegally perform work under government contracts that were set aside for small, disadvantaged businesses. The scheme, which lasted more than five years, defrauded the government's assistance programme of tens of millions of dollars.35

In August 2016, a former officer and owner of MCC pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit wire fraud and agreed to pay forfeiture in the amount of US$105,618. Earlier in 2016, MCC had pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit fraud and agreed to pay nearly US$1.8 million in criminal penalties and forfeiture.36

Packaged seafood

In its 2015 review of the proposed merger of Thai Union Group PCL (owner of Tri-Union Seafoods LLC, d/b/a Chicken of the Sea International) and Bumble Bee Foods LLC, the Antitrust Division discovered evidence of potentially criminal conduct in the parties' ordinary course business documents that had been produced to the Division in connection with the merger review. The Division promptly opened a criminal investigation into collusion in the packaged seafood industry.37

In May 2017, Bumble Bee agreed to plead guilty for its role in the conspiracy to fix prices of shelf-stable tuna and to cooperate with the Division's ongoing investigation. The company also agreed to pay a US$25 million criminal fine, to be increased to as much as US$81.5 million in the event Bumble Bee is sold, subject to certain terms and conditions.38

In June 2017, a former senior vice president of sales pleaded guilty for his role in the conspiracy39 and, in December 2016, two other executives agreed to also plead guilty for their respective roles.40 All three individuals have agreed to pay criminal fines and cooperate with the Division's ongoing investigation.

Generic prescription drugs

In January 2017, two former senior-level pharmaceutical executives pleaded guilty for participating in conspiracies to fix prices, rig bids and allocate customers for certain generic drugs (namely for an antibiotic and for a diabetes treatment).41 The Division's investigation is ongoing, and it has indicated that it is 'committed to ensuring that generic pharmaceutical companies and their executives compete vigorously to provide these essential products at a competitive price.'42

Heir location services

In August 2016, Kemp & Associates Inc and its co-owner and vice president were charged with conspiring to allocate customers for heir location services. To date, three executives and two companies have been charged in the Antitrust Division's ongoing investigation into customer allocation, price fixing, bid rigging and other anticompetitive conduct in this industry.43

Public school bus services

Four individuals were convicted in January 2017, following a week-long trial, for conspiring to rig bids and allocate the market for public school bus transportation services in Puerto Rico. Each individual was also found guilty of conspiracy to commit mail fraud and four counts of mail fraud for defrauding the municipal government.44

Conclusion

The past year's developments signal the Antitrust Division's continued focus on cartel enforcement with increasing corporate fines and lengthier prison sentences. Although the Division's direction on contested merger reviews and civil non-merger matters under the Trump administration remains to be seen, there is every reason to believe that the Division will continue to vigorously pursue cartel investigations and prosecutions, particularly international cartels that affect US consumers or businesses. There is also every reason to believe that it will continue to use the full array of weapons it has developed to search out and prosecute these offenders, including but not limited to the leniency programme, search warrants, consensual monitoring, border watches, extradition, and cooperation with enforcement authorities around the world. In this environment of heightened risk for antitrust liability, and in light of the Division's recent willingness to credit companies for their compliance efforts, effective antitrust compliance programmes are now more important than ever.

Footnotes

1 U.S. Dep't of Justice, 'Criminal Enforcement Trends Charts,' (30 January 2017), available at www.justice.gov/atr/criminal-enforcement-fine-and-jail-charts.

2 Id.

3 U.S. Dep't of Justice, 'Individual Accountability in the Financial Services Industry,' (27 March 2017), available at www.justice.gov/atr/division-operations/division-update-spring-2017/individual-accountability-financial-services-industry.

4 U.S. Dep't of Justice, 'Criminal Enforcement Trends Charts,' (30 January 2017), available at www.justice.gov/atr/criminal-enforcement-fine-and-jail-charts.

5 U.S. Dep't of Justice, 'Acting Assistant Attorney General Renata Hesse of the Antitrust Division Delivers Remarks at 26th Annual Golden State Antitrust, UCL and Privacy Law Institute,' (3 November 2016), available at www.justice.gov/opa/speech/acting-assistant-attorney-general-renata-hesse-antitrust-division-delivers-remarks-26th.

6 U.S. Dep't of Justice, 'Israeli Executive Pleads Guilty to Defrauding the Foreign Military Financing Program,' (13 March 2017), available at www.justice.gov/opa/pr/israeli-executive-pleads-guilty-defrauding-foreign-military-financing-program; U.S. Dep't of Justice, 'Individual Program Update 2017,' (28 March 2017), available at www.justice.gov/atr/division-operations/division-update-spring-2017/international-program-update-2017.

7 Memorandum from Sally Quillian Yates, Deputy Att'y Gen., U.S. Dep't of Justice, to Assistant Att'y Gen, Antitrust Div., U.S. Dep't of Justice et al., regarding Individual Accountability for Corporate Wrongdoing (9 September 2015), available at www.justice.gov/dag/file/769036/download.

8 Id.

9 U.S. Dep't of Justice, 'Acting Assistant Attorney General Renata Hesse of the Antitrust Division Delivers Remarks at 26th Annual Golden State Antitrust, UCL and Privacy Law Institute,' (3 November 2016), available at www.justice.gov/opa/speech/acting-assistant-attorney-general-renata-hesse-antitrust-division-delivers-remarks-26th.

10 Id.

11 Id.

12 U.S. Dep't of Justice and Fed. Trade Comm'n, 'Antitrust Guidance for Human Resource Professionals,' (October 2016), available at www.justice.gov/atr/file/903511/download.

13 U.S. Dep't of Justice, 'Acting Assistant Attorney General Renata Hesse of the Antitrust Division Delivers Remarks at the American Bar Association Fall Forum,' (17 November 2016), available at www.justice.gov/opa/speech/acting-assistant-attorney-general-renata-hesse-antitrust-division-delivers-remarks-0.

14 U.S. Dep't of Justice, 'Kiekert AG to Plead Guilty to Bid Rigging Involving Auto Parts,' (7 March 2017), available at www.justice.gov/opa/pr/kiekert-ag-plead-guilty-bid-rigging-involving-auto-parts.

15 Id.

16 U.S. Dep't of Justice, 'Japanese Auto Parts Company Agrees to Plead Guilty to Antitrust Conspiracy Involving Steel Tubes,' (8 November 2016), available at www.justice.gov/opa/pr/japanese-auto-parts-company-agrees-plead-guilty-antitrust-conspiracy-involving-steel-tubes; U.S. Dep't of Justice, 'Alpha Corporation Agrees to Plead Guilty in Price-Fixing and Bid-Rigging Conspiracy,' (15 September 2016), available at www.justice.gov/opa/pr/alpha-corporation-agrees-plead-guilty-price-fixing-and-bid-rigging-conspiracy; U.S. Dep't of Justice, 'Hitachi Automotive Systems Agrees to Plead Guilty to Involvement in Anti-Competitive Auto Parts Conspiracy,' (9 August 2016), available at www.justice.gov/opa/pr/hitachi-automotive-systems-agrees-plead-guilty-involvement-anti-competitive-auto-parts; U.S. Dep't of Justice, 'Nishikawa Agrees to Plead Guilty and Pay $130 Million Criminal Fine for Fixing Prices of Automotive Parts,' (20 July 2016), available at www.justice.gov/opa/pr/nishikawa-agrees-plead-guilty-and-pay-130-million-criminal-fine-fixing-prices-automotive.

17 U.S. Dep't of Justice, 'Hitachi Automotive Systems Agrees to Plead Guilty to Involvement in Anti-Competitive Auto Parts Conspiracy,' (9 August 2016), available at www.justice.gov/opa/pr/hitachi-automotive-systems-agrees-plead-guilty-involvement-anti-competitive-auto-parts.

18 U.S. Dep't of Justice, 'Deutsche Bank's London Subsidiary Sentenced for Manipulation of LIBOR,' (28 March 2017), available at www.justice.gov/opa/pr/deutsche-bank-s-london-subsidiary-sentenced-manipulation-libor.

19 U.S. Dep't of Justice, 'Former Rabobank Derivatives Trader Pleads Guilty for Scheme to Manipulate LIBOR Benchmark,' (7 July 2016), available at www.justice.gov/opa/pr/former-rabobank-derivatives-trader-pleads-guilty-scheme-manipulate-libor-benchmark.

20 U.S. Dep't of Justice, 'Second Foreign Currency Exchange Dealer Pleads Guilty to Antitrust Conspiracy,' (12 January 2017), available at www.justice.gov/opa/pr/second-foreign-currency-exchange-dealer-pleads-guilty-antitrust-conspiracy; U.S. Dep't of Justice, 'Foreign Currency Exchange Dealer Pleads Guilty to Antitrust Conspiracy,' (4 January 2017), available at www.justice.gov/opa/pr/foreign-currency-exchange-dealer-pleads-guilty-antitrust-conspiracy.

21 U.S. Dep't of Justice, 'Three Former Traders for Major Banks Indicted in Foreign Currency Exchange Antitrust Conspiracy,' (10 January 2017), available at www.justice.gov/opa/pr/three-former-traders-major-banks-indicted-foreign-currency-exchange-antitrust-conspiracy.

22 U.S. Dep't of Justice, 'Five Major Banks Agree to Parent-Level Guilty Pleas,' (20 May 2015), available at www.justice.gov/opa/pr/five-major-banks-agree-parent-level-guilty-pleas.

23 U.S. Dep't of Justice, 'Three Former Traders for Major Banks Indicted in Foreign Currency Exchange Antitrust Conspiracy,' (10 January 2017), available at www.justice.gov/opa/pr/three-former-traders-major-banks-indicted-foreign-currency-exchange-antitrust-conspiracy.

24 U.S. Dep't of Justice, 'Corporation and Its Executive Agree to Plead Guilty to Participating in Capacitors Price-Fixing Conspiracy,' (8 February 2017), available at www.justice.gov/opa/pr/corporation-and-its-executive-agree-plead-guilty-participating-capacitors-price-fixing.

25 U.S. Dep't of Justice, 'Three More Individuals Indicted for Their Roles in Capacitors Price-Fixing Conspiracy,' (15 December 2016), available at www.justice.gov/opa/pr/three-more-individuals-indicted-their-roles-capacitors-price-fixing-conspiracy; U.S. Dep't of Justice, 'Five More Individuals Indicted for Their Roles in Capacitors Price-Fixing Conspiracy,' (2 November 2016), available at www.justice.gov/opa/pr/five-more-individuals-indicted-their-roles-capacitors-price-fixing-conspiracy.

26 U.S. Dep't of Justice, 'Three Companies Agree to Plead Guilty for Fixing Prices of Electrolytic Capacitors,' (22 August 2016), available at www.justice.gov/opa/pr/three-companies-agree-plead-guilty-fixing-prices-electrolytic-capacitors.

27 Joshua Sisco, 'Elna's $3.8 million capacitor price-fixing fine rejected by judge,' MLex (14 June 2017), available at www.mlex.com/GlobalAntitrust/DetailView.aspx?cid=895329&siteid=191.

28 U.S. Dep't of Justice, 'Division Secures Individual and Corporate Guilty Pleas for Collusion Affecting Millions of American Consumers,' (28 March 2017), available at www.justice.gov/atr/division-operations/division-update-spring-2017/division-secures-individual-and-corporate-guilty-pleas-collusion-industries-where-products.

29 U.S. Dep't of Justice, 'WWL to Pay $98.9 Million for Fixing Prices of Ocean Shipping Services for Cars and Trucks,' (13 July 2016), available at www.justice.gov/opa/pr/wwl-pay-989-million-fixing-prices-ocean-shipping-services-cars-and-trucks.

30 U.S. Dep't of Justice, 'International Shipping Executives Indicted for Colluding on Bids and Rates,' (27 June 2017), available at www.justice.gov/opa/pr/international-shipping-executives-indicted-colluding-bids-and-rates.

31 U.S. Dep't of Justice, 'Online Retailer Pleads Guilty for Fixing Prices of Wall Posters,' (11 August 2016), available at www.justice.gov/opa/pr/online-retailer-pleads-guilty-fixing-prices-wall-posters.

32 U.S. Dep't of Justice, 'Acting Assistant Attorney General Renata Hesse of the Antitrust Division Delivers Remarks at 26th Annual Golden State Antitrust, UCL and Privacy Law Institute,' (3 November 2016), available at www.justice.gov/opa/speech/acting-assistant-attorney-general-renata-hesse-antitrust-division-delivers-remarks-26th.

33 U.S. Dep't of Justice, 'Former CEO of Canadian Hazardous Waste Treatment Company Sentenced to Serve 63 Months in Prison for Role in Kickback and Fraud Schemes Against the United States,' (9 August 2016), available at www.justice.gov/opa/pr/former-ceo-canadian-hazardous-waste-treatment-company-sentenced-serve-63-months-prison-role.

34 U.S. Dep't of Justice, 'Construction Company Officer Pleads Guilty to Conspiring to Defraud Government,' (15 November 2016), available at www.justice.gov/opa/pr/construction-company-officer-pleads-guilty-conspiring-defraud-government.

35 U.S. Dep't of Justice, 'Construction Company Officer Sentenced to Prison for Conspiring to Defraud Government,' (25 April 2017), available at www.justice.gov/opa/pr/construction-company-officer-sentenced-prison-conspiring-defraud-government.

36 U.S. Dep't of Justice, 'Former MCC Construction Company Officer and Owner Pleads Guilty to Conspiring to Defraud Government,' (23 August 2016), available at www.justice.gov/opa/pr/former-mcc-construction-company-officer-and-owner-pleads-guilty-conspiring-defraud-government.

37 U.S. Dep't of Justice, 'Civil Investigations Uncover Evidence of Criminal Conduct,' (28 March 2017), available at www.justice.gov/atr/division-operations/division-update-spring-2017/civil-investigations-uncover-evidence-criminal-conduct.

38 U.S. Dep't of Justice, 'Bumble Bee Agrees to Plead Guilty to Price Fixing,' (8 May 2017), available at www.justice.gov/opa/pr/bumble-bee-agrees-plead-guilty-price-fixing.

39 U.S. Dep't of Justice, 'Former Packaged Seafood Executive Pleads Guilty to Price Fixing,' (28 June 2017), available at www.justice.gov/opa/pr/former-packaged-seafood-executive-pleads-guilty-price-fixing.

40 U.S. Dep't of Justice, 'Packaged Seafood Executive Agrees to Plead Guilty to Price-Fixing Conspiracy,' (21 December 2016), available at www.justice.gov/opa/pr/packaged-seafood-executive-agrees-plead-guilty-price-fixing-conspiracy; U.S. Dep't of Justice, 'First Charges Brought in Investigation of Collusion in the Packaged Seafood Industry,' (7 December 2016), available at www.justice.gov/opa/pr/first-charges-brought-investigation-collusion-packaged-seafood-industry.

41 U.S. Dep't of Justice, 'Former Top Generic Pharmaceutical Executives Charged with Price-Fixing, Bid-Rigging and Customer Allocation Conspiracies,' (14 December 2016), available at www.justice.gov/opa/pr/former-top-generic-pharmaceutical-executives-charged-price-fixing-bid-rigging-and-customer.

42 U.S. Dep't of Justice, 'Division Secures Individual and Corporate Guilty Pleas for Collusion Affecting Millions of American Consumers,' (28 March 2017), available at www.justice.gov/atr/division-operations/division-update-spring-2017/division-secures-individual-and-corporate-guilty-pleas-collusion-industries-where-products.

43 U.S. Dep't of Justice, 'Heir Location Services Company and Co-Owner Charged with Customer Allocation Scheme,' (17 August 2016), available at www.justice.gov/opa/pr/heir-location-services-company-and-co-owner-charged-customer-allocation-scheme.

44 U.S. Dep't of Justice, 'Four School Bus Company Owners Convicted for Bid Rigging and Mail Fraud Conspiracies Involving Puerto Rico Public School Bus Services,' (26 January 2017), available at www.justice.gov/opa/pr/four-school-bus-company-owners-convicted-bid-rigging-and-mail-fraud-conspiracies-involving.

Originally published in "United States: Cartels" for Global Competition Review's Antitrust Review of the Americas 2018.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions