Far beyond double jeopardy: Global antitrust enforcement, duplicative punishments and the need for effective compliance

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Publication January 15, 2016

The proof is in the numbers—antitrust enforcement in the United States has exploded in recent years. The Antitrust Division of the Department of Justice reported criminal fines of $1.3 billion for fiscal year 2014 and an average yield of almost $1 billion in fines from 2009 to 2014.1 Fines resulting from the auto parts and LIBOR antitrust investigations caused fiscal year 2015 fines to more than double any of those totals, reaching an all-time high of $3.6 billion.2 These fines rival and in some cases best fines imposed in two other key U.S. compliance areas, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act3 and international trade sanctions.4 Given the enforcement climate and unprecedented criminal fines, antitrust compliance should be rocketing to the top of the list of compliance priorities for businesses potentially impacted by the increased enforcement.

This point is made all the more pressing by the fact that antitrust enforcement has become a major emphasis around the world. Antitrust violations often touch multiple jurisdictions, causing multiple enforcement authorities to become involved. As Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brent Snyder recently stated in remarks at  the Sixth Annual Chicago Forum on International Antitrust:

The United States is now almost always joined in investigating and punishing international cartels by the European Commission, Japan, Brazil, Canada, Australia, and others. These jurisdictions investigate with vigor and impose tough sanctions. As a result, companies are now exposed to enormous monetary penalties around the world.5

Recent figures bear out DAAG Snyder’s point. For example, the European Commission issued nearly €1.7 billion in fines in 2014 and nearly €1.9 billion the year prior.6 Competition authorities from Brazil to China have stepped up enforcement as well, imposing large sanctions on cartel participants.7

Read the full article: Far beyond double jeopardy Global antitrust enforcement duplicative punishments and the need for effective compliance

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