DOJ Antitrust Division announces criminal fines for FY 2014

ANTITRUST DIVISION ANNOUNCES FISCAL YEAR TOTAL IN CRIMINAL FINES COLLECTED

The Department of Justice collected $1.861 billion in criminal fines and penalties resulting from Antitrust Division prosecutions in the fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30, 2014. Contributing in part to one of the largest yearly collections for the division, five of the companies paid in full penalties that exceeded $100 million, including a $425 million criminal fine levied against Bridgestone Corp., the fourth-largest fine the Antitrust Division has ever obtained.  The second-largest fine collected was a $195 million criminal fine levied against Hitachi Automotive Systems Ltd.  The three additional companies that paid fines and penalties exceeding $100 million were Mitsubishi Electric Corp. with $190 million, Toyo Tire & Rubber Co. Ltd. with $120 million and JTEKT Corp. with $103.2 million. The collection total also includes penalties of more than $561 million received as a result of the division’s LIBOR investigation, which has been conducted in cooperation with the Justice Department’s Criminal Division. In addition, in the last fiscal year the division obtained jail terms for 21 individual defendants, with an average sentence of 26 months, the third-highest average ever.

“The size of these penalties is an unfortunate reminder of the powerful temptation to cheat the American consumer and profit from collusion,” said Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer for the Antitrust Division.  “We remain committed to ensuring that corporations and individuals who collude face serious consequences for their crimes.”

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Report: Bundeskartellamt releases 2-year antitrust enforcement statistics

The Bundeskartellamt (German Federal Cartel Office) has released its “Tätigkeitsbericht 2011/2012” (a summary report of its most recent two-year activity).

What stands out to me is that the BKartA/FCO initiated only 28 second-phase reviews of notified mergers in 2011 and 2012 (out of 1108 and 1127, respectively). That’s merely 1.25% of in-depth reviews. 6 proposed deals were prohibited and 2 allowed with “strict conditions imposed.”

On the cartel front, the agency found infringements in 34 cases, yielding fines of 190m and 360m Euros in 2011 and 2012, respectively.  By far the highest fine was doled out in the rail track cartel, amounting to 124.5m Euros thus far (with further investigation in related markets ongoing).

The Bundeskartellamt also investigated 67 abuse-of-dominance cases and initiated several sectoral inquiries, as well as pushing forward its central “gasoline price transparency” project.