There has never been a greater emphasis on policing anticompetitive behavior worldwide. Dozens of countries have instituted effective and aggressive cartel enforcement programs following a trend of increased global enforcement, and criminal antitrust fines in the United States alone exceeded $1 billion in both 2013 and 2012.  Prison sentences up to 10 years have also been sought. Average jail terms of two years have been imposed since 2010. In this aggressive enforcement environment, an effective compliance program is of paramount importance, especially given the risks of fines, jail time and civil damages that accompany cartel participation.
Any company attempting to structure a compliance program, monitor an existing compliance program’s efficacy or navigate the corporate leniency process faces numerous questions. While the related answers change as the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”) Antitrust Division’s policies and perspectives evolve – take, for example, an evolving approach to individual executive prosecution – two speeches given recently by Division officials remove some of the related uncertainties.
In a speech on September 9, 2014, Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brent Snyder reviewed the Antitrust Division’s perspective on an effective compliance program;  in another speech on September 10, 2014, Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer reiterated many of these points and offered additional thoughts on investigative cooperation and the leniency process. Continue Reading