Antitrust Division Issues 2016 Annual Spring Update
The Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division today issued its 2016 spring update. The update highlights the Antitrust Division’s civil and criminal enforcement actions, international cooperation efforts, and competition guidance and advocacy over the last year.
The spring update includes a message from Assistant Attorney General Bill Baer discussing the division’s recent litigation successes, civil enforcement wins, and its prosecution of domestic and international cartels. The update includes profiles of some of division employees who helped make that happen.
The spring update describes the division’s successes in civil enforcement over the past year. These include several wins in just the last few weeks: the Supreme Court’s recent denial of Apple’s cert. petition, ending that company’s efforts to avoid liability for its role in orchestrating a conspiracy with book publishers to raise the price of eBooks; United Airlines’ abandoned efforts to bolster its monopoly at Newark International Airport; and the temporary restraining order that foiled Tribune Company’s efforts to monopolize local newspaper markets in southern California. The spring update also provides an in-depth look at the division’s suit to block the Electrolux-General Electric merger, which the parties abandoned before the end of trial, and its earlier work to protect competition among broadband internet providers, canned tuna companies, and installment lenders.
This year’s update also describes the division’s criminal enforcement efforts, which included obtaining more than $3.6 billion in criminal fines and penalties – the largest amount ever secured by the division in a single fiscal year – and bringing charges against 20 companies and more than 60 individuals for criminal violations of U.S. antitrust laws. The update looks at the milestones the division reached in its prosecution of collusion and fraud in the financial industry and among real estate investors in the southeastern United States and northern California. It discusses the recent guilty verdict returned in the trial against John Bennett, a former CEO extradited to face charges for kickbacks and fraud. And it details the division’s work to protect competition in online marketplaces and among firms that help out the heirs of people who died without a will.
Finally, the update explores the division’s competition advocacy in the U.S., its efforts to provide guidance on important issues about the intersection of intellectual property and antitrust, and its work with enforcers across the globe to protect competition and promote sound enforcement of antitrust laws.
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