Press Release

2018 Global Cartel Report: Fines Dropped 17% to $3.6 Billion; Europe Was Largest Enforcer

Thursday, January 24, 2019

WASHINGTON, DC, and LONDON, January 24, 2019: Morgan Lewis’s Global Cartel Enforcement Report Year-End 2018 finds that at $3.6 billion, worldwide cartel fines decreased by 17% last year from $4.2 billion in 2017, even though antitrust enforcers around the world continued to impose significant penalties.

These developments—as well as in-depth analyses of emerging trends, continuing activities, key enforcement efforts, and judicial developments—are highlighted in the annual report, which was produced by members of Morgan Lewis’s antitrust and competition practice. Among the findings:

  • More than half of total fines (51.3%) were imposed by Europe at $1.85 billion, followed by the Americas (22.5%) at $812.4 million
  • Australia and Singapore levied their largest fines ever; $34.6 million against a wire harness manufacturer and $19.6 million against suppliers of fresh chicken products, respectively
  • Concerns over the cost and burden of leniency programs continued
  • Regulators continued to debate the role of algorithms and information exchanges in enforcement

See the full report, which is published annually on a mid-year and year-end basis, for more on notable cartel fines by region, individual criminal penalties, new investigations and cases, important policy decisions, and more.

As part of one of the largest antitrust and competition practice in the world, Morgan Lewis’s global cartel investigations and litigation team includes several former prosecutors and high-level enforcement agency officials. The team, which has been involved in nearly every major cartel investigation in the last 20 years, defends companies, individuals, and independent boards and committees across the globe on every aspect of alleged cartel behavior, including in internal investigations, US and UK criminal representations, and multidistrict US class action litigation. The team also handles European regulatory representations, European civil damages litigation, and coordinating representation before competition authorities across Asia and Latin America.