Press Release

A Year of Firsts: Global Cartel Enforcement and Investigatory Trends in 2016

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

WASHINGTON DC, January 17, 2017: It was a year of firsts for global cartel enforcement according to the Morgan Lewis 2016 Global Cartel Enforcement Report. The Report’s comprehensive analysis highlights cartel enforcement activities by competition agencies around the world across multiple industry sectors in 2016.

Produced by Morgan Lewis’s global antitrust and competition group, the report reveals the amount of total global cartel enforcement fines in 2016 to be approximately $7.7 billion. The largest individual case fines in 2016 exceeded $1 billion, with both the EU and India imposing fines above that threshold in separate cases. The United States, Italy, South Africa, South Korea, and Spain all imposed fines exceeding $100 million in individual cases. Significant firsts in cartel enforcement include Australia’s first criminal cases against a corporation, the first criminal charges filed in a packaged seafood industry investigation, and a record settlement in a Brazilian cartel case with orange juice producers.

A new feature of the Report highlights dawn raids conducted during the year, demonstrating that surprise investigations are still a favored technique of global enforcers. Several active investigations are summarized in the Report. The 2016 analysis also includes two appendices detailing the charges against companies and executives in the DOJ automotive parts investigation, which has resulted in the prosecution of 47 corporations, 65 individuals and more than $2.9 billion in criminal fines.

Morgan Lewis will continue to monitor enforcement activity and civil litigation in the automotive, pharmaceuticals, electronics, financial services, and real estate industry sectors, among others, and predicts ongoing active enforcement in the electronic components and global shipping industries in 2017.

To learn more, read the full Global Cartel Enforcement Report.

Morgan Lewis’s antitrust lawyers act as US, European, and global coordinating counsel for multinational corporations in international cartel investigations, guiding clients through the critical stages of the US cartel litigation process, from initial investigation through final resolution. The team handles multijurisdictional cartel investigations and civil litigation, and defends the world’s largest corporations in high-stakes treble damages class actions involving allegations of price-fixing and other misconduct. Clients also rely on Morgan Lewis to help establish compliance programs to prevent or detect potential cartel conduct that could result in substantial criminal liability.