The U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division is prosecuting criminal antitrust violations with unprecedented vigor and success. Nine months into its current fiscal year, it has imposed over $1 billion in criminal fines and has already surpassed all historic full-year totals except FY 2012. In light of this, many companies have moved to reevaluate and fortify their antitrust compliance programs.
The Antitrust Division’s high level of activity is largely due to its wide-ranging investigation into the international auto parts industry. It is the largest criminal investigation that the Antitrust Division has ever pursued. Since the first auto parts plea agreements were announced in 2011, 27 companies have agreed to plead guilty and pay over $2.3 billion in criminal fines. 36 executives have been charged with criminal violations, 25 of whom have pled guilty; 22 have been sentenced to serve time in U.S. prisons.