NORTHERN DISTRICT OF CALIFORNIA
SAN FRANCISCO DIVISION
The United States of America and DuPont Dow Elastomers L.L.C. ("defendant"), a corporation organized and existing under the laws of Delaware, hereby enter into the following Plea Agreement pursuant to Rule 11(c)(1)(c) of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure ("Fed. R. Crim. P."):
1. The defendant understands its rights:
AND WAIVE CERTAIN RIGHTS
2. The defendant knowingly and voluntarily waives the rights set out in Paragraph 1(b)-(f) above. The defendant also knowingly and voluntarily waives the right to file any appeal, any collateral attack, or any other writ or motion, including but not limited to an appeal under 18 U.S.C. § 3742, that challenges the sentence imposed by the Court if that sentence is consistent with or below the recommended sentence in Paragraph 8 of this Plea Agreement, regardless of how the sentence is determined by the Court. This agreement does not affect the rights or obligations of the United States as set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 3742(b) and (c). Pursuant to Fed. R. Crim. P. 7(b), the defendant will waive indictment and plead guilty at arraignment to a one-count Information to be filed in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. The Information will charge the defendant with participating in a conspiracy to suppress and eliminate competition by fixing the price of polychloroprene rubber sold in the United States and elsewhere, beginning in or about August 1999 and continuing until in or about April 2002, in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act, 15 U.S.C. § 1.
3. The defendant, pursuant to the terms of this Plea Agreement, will plead guilty to the criminal charge described in Paragraph 2 above and will make a factual admission of guilt to the Court in accordance with Fed. R. Crim. P. 11, as set forth in Paragraph 4 below.
4. Had this case gone to trial, the United States would have presented evidence sufficient to prove the following facts:
(a) For purposes of this Plea Agreement, the "relevant period" is that period beginning in or about August 1999 and continuing until in or about April 2002. During the relevant period, the defendant was a corporation organized and existing under the laws of Delaware. The defendant, a limited liability company formed in 1996 by E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company and The Dow Chemical Company, has its principal place of business in Wilmington, Delaware. During the relevant period, the defendant was a producer of polychloroprene rubber, was engaged in the sale of polychloroprene rubber in the United States and elsewhere, and employed 1,000 or more individuals. Polychloroprene rubber, also known as "chloroprene rubber," "polychloroprene," "PCP," or "neoprene," is a specific type of synthetic rubber which has end-use applications in the automotive, adhesives, and construction industries. Polychloroprene rubber is produced by free radical initiated emulsion polymerization of chloroprene or emulsion co-polymerization of chloroprene and at least one other co-monomer, and optionally, other additives. During the relevant period, the defendant's sales of polychloroprene rubber to U.S. customers totaled at least $410,500,000.
(b) During the relevant period, the defendant, through its officers and employees, participated in a conspiracy among major polychloroprene rubber producers, the primary purpose of which was to suppress and eliminate competition by fixing the price of polychloroprene rubber sold in the United States and elsewhere. In furtherance of the conspiracy, the defendant, through its officers and employees, engaged in discussions and attended meetings with representatives of other major polychloroprene rubber producers. During these discussions and meetings, agreements were reached to fix the price of polychloroprene rubber to be sold in the United States and elsewhere.
(c) During the relevant period, polychloroprene rubber sold by one or more of the conspirator firms, and equipment and supplies necessary to the production and distribution of polychloroprene rubber, as well as payments for polychloroprene rubber, traveled in interstate and foreign commerce. The business activities of the defendant and its co-conspirators in connection with the production and sale of polychloroprene rubber affected by this conspiracy were within the flow of, and substantially affected, interstate and foreign trade and commerce.
(d) Polychloroprene rubber affected by this conspiracy was sold by one or more of the conspirators to customers in this District.
CALCULATION OF SENTENCE
5. The United States contends that had this case gone to trial, the United States would have presented evidence to prove that the gain derived from or the loss resulting from the charged offense is sufficient to justify a fine of $84 million, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3571(d). For purposes of this plea and sentencing, the defendant waives its rights to contest this calculation.
POSSIBLE MAXIMUM SENTENCE
6. The defendant understands that the statutory maximum penalty which may be imposed against it upon conviction for a violation of Section One of the Sherman Antitrust Act is a fine in an amount equal to the greatest of:
7. In addition, the defendant understands that:
8. The defendant understands that the Sentencing Guidelines are advisory, not mandatory, but that the Court must consider the Guidelines in effect on the day of sentencing, along with the other factors set forth in 18 U.S.C. §3553(a), in imposing sentence. The defendant understands that the Guidelines determinations will be made by the Court by a preponderance of the evidence standard. The defendant understands that although the Court is not ultimately bound to impose a sentence within the applicable advisory Guidelines range, its sentence must be reasonable based upon consideration of all relevant sentencing factors set forth in 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a). Pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 1B1.8, the United States agrees that self-incriminating information that the defendant provides to the United States pursuant to this Plea Agreement will not be used to increase the volume of affected commerce attributable to the defendant or in determining the defendant's applicable Guidelines range, except to the extent provided in U.S.S.G. § 1B1.8(b).
9. Pursuant to Fed. R. Crim. P. 11(c)(1)(c), the United States and the defendant agree that the appropriate disposition of this case is, and agree to recommend jointly that the Court impose, a sentence requiring the defendant to pay to the United States a criminal fine of $84 million, pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 3571(d), payable in installments as set forth below with interest accruing under 18 U.S.C. § 3612(f)(1)-(2) ("the recommended sentence"). The parties agree that there exists no aggravating or mitigating circumstances of a kind, or to a degree, not adequately taken into consideration by the U.S. Sentencing Commission in formulating the Sentencing Guidelines that should result in a sentence outside of the advisory Guidelines range. The parties agree not to seek or support any sentence outside of the advisory Guidelines range nor any Guidelines adjustment for any reason that is not set forth in this Plea Agreement. The parties further agree that the recommended sentence set forth in this Plea Agreement is reasonable.
10. The United States and the defendant agree that the applicable sentencing Guidelines fine range exceeds the fine contained in the recommended sentence set out in Paragraph 9 above. Subject to the full and continuing cooperation of the defendant, as described in Paragraph 13 of this Plea Agreement, and prior to sentencing in this case, the United States agrees that it will make a motion, pursuant to U.S.S.G. § 8C4.1, for a downward departure from the Guidelines fine range and will request that the Court impose the recommended sentence set out in Paragraph 9 of this Plea Agreement because of the defendant's substantial assistance in the government's investigation and prosecutions of violations of federal criminal law in the polychloroprene rubber industry.
11. The United States and the defendant understand that the Court retains complete discretion to accept or reject the recommended sentence provided for in Paragraph 9 of this Plea Agreement.
12. In light of the civil cases filed, which potentially provide for a recovery of a multiple of actual damages, the United States agrees that it will not seek a restitution order for the offense charged in the Information.
13. The defendant and the following entities (collectively, "related entities"): E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company, The Dow Chemical Company, and any subsidiaries (direct or indirect) of the defendant, E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Company or The Dow Chemical Company engaged in the sale or production of polychloroprene rubber, will cooperate fully and truthfully with the United States in the prosecution of this case, the conduct of the current federal investigation of violations of federal antitrust and related criminal laws involving the manufacture or sale of polychloroprene rubber, any other federal investigation resulting therefrom involving the manufacture or sale of polychloroprene rubber, and any litigation or other proceedings arising or resulting from any such investigation to which the United States is a party ("Federal Proceeding"). The ongoing, full, and truthful cooperation of the defendant shall include, but not be limited to:
14. The ongoing, full, and truthful cooperation of each person described in Paragraph 13(b) above will be subject to the procedures and protections of this paragraph, and shall include, but not be limited to:
15. Upon acceptance of the guilty plea called for by this Plea Agreement and the imposition of the recommended sentence, and subject to the cooperation requirements of Paragraph 13 of this Plea Agreement, the United States agrees that it will not bring further criminal charges against the defendant or any of its related entities for any act or offense committed before the date of this Plea Agreement that was undertaken in furtherance of an antitrust conspiracy involving the manufacture or sale of polychloroprene rubber. The nonprosecution terms of this paragraph do not apply to civil matters of any kind, to any violation of the federal tax or securities laws, or to any crime of violence.
16. The United States agrees to the following:
17. The United States agrees that when any person travels to the United States for interviews, grand jury appearances, or court appearances pursuant to this Plea Agreement, or for meetings with counsel in preparation therefor, the United States will take no action, based upon any Relevant Offense, to subject such person to arrest, detention, or service of process, or to prevent such person from departing the United States. This paragraph does not apply to an individual's commission of perjury (18 U.S.C. § 1621), making false statements (18 U.S.C. § 1001), making false statements or declarations in grand jury or court proceedings (18 U.S.C. § 1623), obstruction of justice (18 U.S.C. § 1503), or contempt (18 U.S.C. §§ 401-402) in connection with any testimony or information provided or requested in any Federal Proceeding.
18. The defendant understands that it may be subject to administrative action by federal or state agencies other than the United States Department of Justice, Antitrust Division, based upon the conviction resulting from this Plea Agreement, and that this Plea Agreement in no way controls whatever action, if any, other agencies may take. However, the United States agrees that, if requested, it will advise the appropriate officials of any governmental agency considering such administrative action of the fact, manner, and extent of the cooperation of the defendant and its related entities as a matter for that agency to consider before determining what administrative action, if any, to take.
REPRESENTATION BY COUNSEL
19. The defendant has been represented by counsel and is fully satisfied that its attorneys have provided competent legal representation. The defendant has thoroughly reviewed this Plea Agreement and acknowledges that counsel has advised it of the nature of the charge, any possible defenses to the charge, and the nature and range of possible sentences.
20. The defendant's decision to enter into this Plea Agreement and to tender a plea of guilty is freely and voluntarily made and is not the result of force, threats, assurances, promises, or representations other than the representations contained in this Plea Agreement. The United States has made no promises or representations to the defendant as to whether the Court will accept or reject the recommendations contained within this Plea Agreement.
21. The defendant agrees that, should the United States determine in good faith, during the period that any Federal Proceeding is pending, that the defendant or any of its related entities have failed to provide full and truthful cooperation, as described in Paragraph 13 of this Plea Agreement, or has otherwise violated any provision of this Plea Agreement, the United States will notify counsel for the defendant in writing by personal or overnight delivery or facsimile transmission and may also notify counsel by telephone of its intention to void any of its obligations under this Plea Agreement (except its obligations under this paragraph), and the defendant and its related entities shall be subject to prosecution for any federal crime of which the United States has knowledge including, but not limited to, the substantive offenses relating to the investigation resulting in this Plea Agreement. The defendant and its related entities may seek Court review of any determination made by the United States under this Paragraph to void any of its obligations under the Plea Agreement. The defendant and its related entities agree that, in the event that the United States is released from its obligations under this Plea Agreement and brings criminal charges against the defendant or its related entities for any offense referred to in Paragraph 15 of this Plea Agreement, the statute of limitations period for such offense will be tolled for the period between the date of the signing of this Plea Agreement and six (6) months after the date the United States gave notice of its intent to void its obligations under this Plea Agreement.
22. The defendant understands and agrees that in any further prosecution of it or its related entities resulting from the release of the United States from its obligations under this Plea Agreement, because of the defendant's or its related entities' violation of the Plea Agreement, any documents, statements, information, testimony, or evidence provided by it, its related entities, or current or former directors, officers, or employees of it or its related entities to attorneys or agents of the United States, federal grand juries, or courts, and any leads derived therefrom, may be used against it or its related entities in any such further prosecution. In addition, the defendant unconditionally waives its right to challenge the use of such evidence in any such further prosecution, notwithstanding the protections of Fed. R. Evid. 410.
23. This Plea Agreement constitutes the entire agreement between the United States and the defendant concerning the disposition of the criminal charge in this case. This Plea Agreement cannot be modified except in writing, signed by the United States and the defendant.
24. The undersigned is authorized to enter this Plea Agreement on behalf of the defendant as evidenced by the Resolution of the Members Committee of the defendant attached to, and incorporated by reference in, this Plea Agreement.
25. The undersigned attorneys for the United States have been authorized by the Attorney General of the United States to enter this Plea Agreement on behalf of the United States.
26. A facsimile signature shall be deemed an original signature for the purpose of executing this Plea Agreement. Multiple signature pages are authorized for the purpose of executing this Plea Agreement.