Expansion of antitrust enforcement continues with extradition — foreign executive to face US antitrust charges
By Jhalé Ali, Mark R Hellerer, Fusae Nara, and Jacob R Sorensen
On 4 April 2014, the Department of Justice’s (DoJ’s) Antitrust Division announced its first successful extradition of a foreign national to the US on antitrust charges. Romano Pisciotti, a citizen of Italy, has been under indictment since 2010 based on his alleged involvement in a marine hose cartel that has produced a number of guilty pleas. While travelling through Germany on business, he was identified as a fugitive from US justice, detained and eventually extradited. Germany’s extradition of Mr Pisciotti demonstrates both the increased willingness of the division to pursue extradition and the increased risks posed to foreign executives, especially if they travel outside of their home countries while under indictment in the US.
The US DoJ’s Antitrust Division has steadily increased its prosecution of international cartels involving foreign companies. In 1993 and 1994, the DoJ announced its corporate and individual leniency programmes. These programmes provide immunity to companies and individuals who are the first to report illegal antitrust activity and leniency to those who report their own involvement once an investigation has already begun. They have led to an increase in enforcement against foreign cartel defendants: both the number of foreign executives separately prosecuted for violating antitrust laws and corresponding prison sentences are on the rise.
Foreign cartel defendants sometimes voluntarily travel to the US to face charges brought against them. Usually this is pursuant to plea agreements negotiated in advance. In other cases, individuals may come to the US voluntarily to contest the charges and attempt to clear their names — as happened with several AU Optronics executives who recently came to the US from Taiwan to defend themselves at trial. But where individuals under indictment decide to stay in their home country — or otherwise decline to come to the US to face prosecution — that has typically been the end of the matter…
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