Since the beginning of FY 1997, the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department
of Justice ("Division") has obtained over $2 billion dollars in criminal fines -- many
multiples higher than the sum total of all criminal fines imposed for violations of the
Sherman Antitrust Act dating back to 1890. Well over 90 percent of these fines were
imposed in connection with the prosecution of international cartel activity.
- Volume Of Affected Commerce. International cartels affect very large
volumes of commerce. In some matters, the volume of commerce affected by
the suspected conspiracy is well over $1 billion per year and in over half of the
investigations, the volume of commerce affected is well over $100 million over
the term of the conspiracy.
- Corporate Fines Have Increased Dramatically. Because international
cartels affect such a large volume of U.S. commerce and the U.S. Sentencing
Guidelines fines are based in large part on the amount of commerce affected
by the cartel, fines obtained by the Division have increased dramatically in
the last five years.
- Year-End Total Fines. In the 10 years prior to FY 1997, the Division
obtained, on average, $29 million in criminal fines annually. In FY 1997, the
Division collected $205 million in criminal fines - - which was 500 percent
higher than during any previous year in the Division's history. In FY 1998,
the Division obtained over $265 million in criminal fines. In FY 1999, the
Division secured over $1.1 billion, including the record fines against F.
Hoffmann-La Roche ($500 million) and BASF ($225 million). In FY 2000, the
Division obtained over $150 million in fines. In FY 2001, fines rose again to
over $280 million.
- Higher Top-End Fines. Less than 10 years ago, the largest corporate fine
ever imposed for a single Sherman Act count was $2 million. However, in the
past five years, fines of more than $10 million have been imposed against
30 defendants. The Division has obtained fines of $100 million or more in six
- $500 million against F. Hoffmann-La Roche (vitamin cartel -
May 1999), largest fine ever imposed in a criminal prosecution of
- $225 million against BASF AG (vitamin cartel - May 1999);
- $135 million against SGL Carbon AG (graphite electrodes cartel
- May 1999);
- $134 million against Mitsubishi Corp. (graphite electrodes cartel
- May 2001);
- $110 million against UCAR International (graphite electrodes
cartel - April 1998); and
- $100 million against Archer Daniels Midland Company (lysine
and citric acid cartels - October 1996).
- International: Fines Of $10 Million or More. The Division has obtained
fines of $10 million or more against U.S., Dutch, German, Japanese, Belgian,
Swiss, British, and Norwegian-based companies. In 29 of the 35 instances in
which the Division has secured a fine of $10 million or greater, the corporate
defendants were foreign-based. These numbers reflect the fact that the typical
international cartel likely consists of a U.S. company and three or four of its
competitors that are market leaders in Europe, Asia, and throughout the
world. (See Chart of Sherman Act Violations Yielding a Fine of $10 Million or