AAI Working Paper No. 14-01: Why Did They Cross the Pacific? Extradition: A Real Threat to Cartelists?
On January 31, 2014, the DOJ added trophies to its list of achievements from the more than three-year long investigation into the auto parts cartels. A former president and a vice president of a Japan-based corporation agreed to plead guilty for their participation in a conspiracy to fix the price of auto parts. Including these two individuals, the DOJ has already brought charges against twenty six corporations and twenty nine individuals, most of whom are Japanese nationals. For reasons described in this paper, some Japanese antitrust practitioners are puzzled by this U.S. enforcement against Japanese nationals. Extradition to the U.S. may not have been a real threat. Nonetheless, more than twenty Japanese executives and employees decided to leave Japan to serve prison terms in the U.S. Why did they choose to cross the Pacific? How functional is the DOJ’s extradition tool? This Working Paper focuses on a relatively unfamiliar area for the antitrust community: the usefulness of extradition in the context of cartel enforcement against Japanese nationals who have not voluntarily surrendered to the U.S. jurisdiction.