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There can be no more chilling event in an executive's day than to receive a U.S. grand jury subpoena or a dawn raid by European officials, meaning that a cartel investigation is underway. From grand jury investigations to amnesty applications, extradition proceedings, and litigating against the government, our team has the experience to navigate clients through all phases of criminal antitrust proceedings. Our lawyers include several former Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecutors, whose first-hand experience and deep understanding of the government's strategic imperatives allow them to evaluate all options and provide a rigorous defense.

We have defended companies and their employees against government allegations of price fixing, bid rigging, market allocation, customer allocation, and related issues of fraud and corruption. Because U.S. criminal proceedings often involve global cartels, our representations extend to dealing with competition authorities including those in Canada, as well as in Europe and Asia. Also, we have been instrumental in obtaining either declinations of prosecution or otherwise favorable resolution in light of the facts.

Representative Engagements

  • Representing a major multinational corporation in the auto parts price-fixing cartel investigation, currently the largest pending criminal antitrust investigation
  • Negotiating a leniency petition for a corporate client in a global cartel investigation despite evidence of obstruction of justice by one of our corporate client's senior executives and his subordinate
  • Negotiating a favorable plea resolution in a major global price-fixing investigation by persuading the DOJ staff that certain conduct constituted a separate conspiracy and was therefore beyond the statute of limitations
  • Negotiating an amnesty agreement with DOJ whereby the client company and its employees avoided any criminal charges associated with a price-fixing conspiracy that resulted in indictments and convictions of other participants
  • Persuading senior Justice Department officials to overrule the staff recommendation to indict our corporate client for price fixing despite evidence from a competitor with amnesty
  • Defending an individual in obtaining a judgment of acquittal at the close of the government's case in a criminal bid rigging trial

We have also represented clients in the follow-on civil litigation related to the alleged conduct that was the basis of a criminal investigation. For example, after a government investigation into Section 1 violations, we won summary judgment in the class action seeking $4 billion in damages relating to the same alleged conduct. The dismissal was subsequently affirmed by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals.

In recent years, we have convinced the U.S. Department of Justice and offices of various state attorneys general to close criminal investigations of our clients in the following industries:

  • Industrial products
  • Building products
  • Commercial explosives
  • Transportation
  • Telecommunications
  • Oil field services

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Crowell & Moring LLP is an international law firm with more than 500 lawyers representing clients in litigation and arbitration, regulatory, and transactional matters. The firm is internationally recognized for its representation of Fortune 500 companies in high-stakes litigation, as well as its ongoing commitment to pro bono service and diversity. The firm has offices in Washington, DC, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Orange County, London, and Brussels.

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