B. Trends in International US Antitrust Enforcement
- DOJ has continued aggressively investigating, prosecuting, and punishing international cartels that target US markets. The DOJ has been particularly successful in using its amnesty and leniency program to obtain cooperation from international companies. This has resulted in large criminal fines upon international agreements and increased sentences and fines upon individuals.
(a) For example, in 2008, seven non-US air cargo airlines plead guilty for their role in the air cargo conspiracy. These companies including Air France, KLM, Japan Airlines and SAS Cargo group agreed to pay fines totaling over $650 million.
(b) Two non-US companies, Dunlop & Oil Marine, Ltd. and Manuli Rubber Industries S.p.A. agreed to plead guilty for their role in the marine hose price fixing conspiracy. These companies collectively agreed to pay over $6 million in fines.
(c) Three non-US electronics manufacturers agreed to plead guilty in the LCD panel price fixing conspiracy. These companies agreed to pay fines of over $650 million dollars.
- DOJ has also continued to pursue the individuals responsible for price fixing agreements even if they are non-US citizens.
(a) For example, thee individuals including a non-US citizen, agreed to plead guilty for their role in the air cargo price fixing conspiracy. These individuals agreed to jail sentences of between 6 and 8 months and agreed to pay fines as high as $20,000.
(b) Nine individuals including numerous non-US citizens agreed to plead guilty for their role in the marine hose price fixing conspiracy. These individuals agreed to jail sentences of up to thirty months in jail and fines of up to $100,000.
(c) Three of these individuals were also simultaneously sentenced to jail sentences in the United Kingdom and were allowed to serve their prison sentences in the UK rather than in the US. One individual was sentenced in the US for his role both in the marine hose price fixing conspiracy and also for his role in violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
(d) The DOJ had less success with those individuals who were indicted and with whom it did not reach plea bargains. In two separate trials, the DOJ failed to secure convictions for claims of an individual's role in a price fixing conspiracy.
(i) In February 2008, a senior sales executive of Hynix America challenged his indictment for conspiring to fix prices in the Dynamic Random Access Memory (DRAM) computer chip market. By the time of the trial, four companies including Hynix and fourteen individual had plead guilty resulting in fines and penalties of over $731 million. The trial ended with a hung jury and a mistrial was declared. The DOJ announced its decision not to retry the case and the indictment was dismissed with prejudice. Interviews showed that the jury did not find the government's witnesses credible.
(ii) In November 2008, two executives from Manuli Rubber Industries S.p.A. challenged their indictment for conspiring to fix prices, rig bids and allocate market in the marine hose industry. By the time of trial, two companies and nine individuals had already plead guilty for their role in the conspiracy. Both of the executives were found not guilty.