The American Antitrust Institute today sent a letter to the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) requesting two specific enhancements to the plea agreements the DOJ enters into with corporate defendants in criminal antitrust cases.
-require corporate defendants in criminal antitrust cases to agree, as a condition of plea agreements, not to hire or re-hire their employees, or the employees of their co-conspirators, who served time in prison or were placed under house arrest or on probation, as a result of participating in the conspiracy for which the defendant is being punished.
-explicitly require companies to agree not to pay the fines of convicted employees, or otherwise to reward or compensate them, directly or indirectly, for their conviction or for serving their sentence.
In the letter AAI calls the DOJ the “the gold standard for antitrust enforcement globally” but also highlights the need for improvement in the area of criminal plea agreements. “… despite its long and vigorous campaign against cartels, collusive behavior continues to occur far too often. The leniency and amnesty programs, increased fines, and increased frequency and severity of incarceration have all been extremely important improvements in enforcement policy, but there is room for further improvement.”
The AAI points out that no new legislation would be needed and there would be no significant budgetary consequences.