12 August 2019
The Antitrust Division’s corporate and individual leniency policies turned 25 and 26 years old respectively over the weekend. On 10 August 1993, the division announced companies could avoid criminal prosecution by being the first to confess to its role in an antitrust conspiracy and by cooperating with the agency’s investigation. Exactly one year later, the agency extended the policy to individuals who came forward on their own behalf. The programme has since become a staple in efforts to crack down on cartels, but the number of leniency applications has swooned in recent years, due in part to a view that the Department of Justice has taken a harder stance on accepting applications. Some observers have also questioned the role that the division’s new policy of crediting preexisting compliance programmes could have on the incentive for companies to squeal on themselves.