Antitrust/Competition > Cartel Investigations and Criminal Antitrust Prosecutions

Often launched by surprise dawn raids, few matters are more serious and fast-moving than criminal antitrust investigations. Cartel cases bring the very real possibility of heavy fines for the company and lengthy prison time for individual executives. The Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, the European Commission and numerous competition enforcement agencies around the globe rank cartel enforcement among their highest priorities. The ever-increasing fine amounts and longer prison terms are important statistics the Antitrust Division and other enforcement authorities track and use as a scorecard. The unique structure of antitrust amnesty/leniency programs and the increasing coordination among countries put a premium on the necessity for investigation targets to act quickly to secure, when appropriate, a favorable place in the leniency line, often in multiple jurisdictions.

Akin Gump lawyers have handled numerous criminal antitrust matters involving internal investigations, grand jury proceedings (including subpoenas for documents and testimony), immunity and leniency negotiations, plea bargains, trials and sentencings, as well as representations of non-target witnesses. Our antitrust and white collar criminal defense lawyers understand how government investigations proceed and how to work closely with executives, company witnesses, joint defense groups and economists and other experts to develop winning defense strategies. We also assist in developing compliance and training programs to minimize risk of price-fixing and other types of antitrust violations. The firm’s cartel representations have involved semiconductors, freight forwarding, air cargo, restaurant supplies, marine hose, helicopters, printing, auto parts, transportation and shipping, oil and gas services and industrial diamonds.

Consumer class actions, filed by both direct and indirect purchasers, inevitably follow major criminal cases. We have extensive experience in defending such cases and are skilled in positioning them procedurally to limit client exposure.

Akin Gump publishes Red Notice, a monthly e-bulletin focusing on key developments relating to antitrust and anti-corruption investigations and prosecutions that cross multiple jurisdictions. Click here to subscribe or read archived editions.