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Leniency Policy For Individuals

U.S. Department of Justice Seal and Letterhead


           On August 10, 1993, the Division announced a new Corporate Leniency Policy under which a corporation can avoid criminal prosecution for antitrust violations by confessing its role in the illegal activities, fully cooperating with the Division, and meeting the other specified conditions. The Corporate Leniency Policy also sets out the conditions under which the directors, officers and employees who come forward with the company, confess, and cooperate will be considered for individual leniency. The Division today announces a new Leniency Policy for Individuals that is effective immediately and applies to all individuals who approach the Division on their own behalf, not as part of a corporate proffer or confession, to seek leniency for reporting illegal antitrust activity of which the Division has not previously been made aware. Under this Policy, "leniency" means not charging such an individual criminally for the activity being reported.

  1. Requirements for Leniency for Individuals

               Leniency will be granted to an individual reporting illegal antitrust activity before an investigation has begun, if the following three conditions are met:
    1. At the time the individual comes forward to report the illegal activity, the Division has not received information about the illegal activity being reported from any other source;
    2. The individual reports the wrongdoing with candor and completeness and provides full, continuing and complete cooperation to the Division throughout the investigation; and
    3. The individual did not coerce another party to participate in the illegal activity and clearly was not the leader in, or originator of, the activity.

  2. Applicability of the Policy

               Any individual who does not qualify for leniency under Part A of this Policy will be considered for statutory or informal immunity from criminal prosecution. Such immunity decisions will be made by the Division on a case-by-case basis in the exercise of its prosecutorial discretion.

               If a corporation attempts to qualify for leniency under the Corporate Leniency Policy, any directors, officers or employees who come forward and confess with the corporation will be considered for leniency solely under the provisions of the Corporate Leniency Policy.

  3. Leniency Procedure

               If the staff that receives the request for leniency believes the individual qualifies for and should be accorded leniency, it should forward a favorable recommendation to the Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Litigation, setting forth the reasons why leniency should be granted. The staff should not delay making such a recommendation until a fact memo recommending prosecution of others is prepared. The Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Litigation will review the request and forward it to the Assistant Attorney General for final decision. If the staff recommends against leniency, the individual and his or her counsel may wish to seek an appointment with the Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Litigation to make their views known. Individuals and their counsel are not entitled to such a meeting as a matter of right, but the opportunity will generally be afforded.

Issued August 10, 1994
Updated June 25, 2015