Tensions among competing cartel enforcers were on the rise in 2014
Allen & Overy – To name only a few, the U.S. faced challenges over the extent of its jurisdictional reach; China was criticised for questionable investigative practices and allegedly protectionist use of its antitrust powers; and Japan faced questions relating to appropriate due process in connection with its handling of witness interviews and its views on attorney-client privilege.
All of this played out against a backdrop of surging global fine totals, the emergence of still more, new enforcement regimes, and efforts by existing authorities to increase their aggressiveness by retooling their cartel programs.
As we enter 2015, global cartel enforcement stands at a cross roads: will serious effort be put toward global coordination among authorities in resolving international cartel cases or will the current arms race persist? The importance of the answer to this question cannot be understated, as critical issues for enforcers and businesses alike, such as the continued value and effectiveness of coveted leniency programs, hang in the balance.
In the meantime, businesses caught in the crosshairs of a cartel investigation should prepare to face an increasingly crowded and confused enforcement landscape, which will require companies to place a premium on the early development of and commitment to an appropriately crafted global strategy.