Criminal Antitrust Update - December 2011


In This Issue:




Excerpt from Industry Scorecard:

Shipping Industry: Sea Star Line LLC (Sea Star) agreed to plead guilty to one count of violating the Sherman Act and will pay a $14.2 million criminal fine for its role in a conspiracy to fix the price of freight services between the United States and Puerto Rico. The president of Sea Star was also indicted for his role in the conspiracy. According to the Department of Justice (DOJ), Sea Star and its competitors agreed to divide customers and fix shipping rates and surcharges for services between the United States and Puerto Rico from 2002-2008. Horizon Lines LLC pleaded guilty in February and agreed to pay a $45 million fine, which was later reduced to $15 million. DOJ earlier secured guilty pleas and substantial prison sentences, in some cases, from Horizon and Sea Star executives for their role in the conspiracy.

Banking Industry: DOJ is investigating several large banks for possible collusion regarding monthly debit card fees. While Bank of America Corp., JP Morgan Chase & Co., and Wells Fargo & Co. eventually decided not to impose a monthly debit card fee, DOJ indicated in a November 16, 2011, letter to Representative Peter Welch (D-VT) that it “is reviewing the statements and actions by banks and their trade associations regarding possible increases in consumer fees for using debit cards.” DOJ’s investigation stems from a letter by Representative Welch and others to Attorney General Eric Holder asking that DOJ investigate the banks for price collusion and price-signaling. Each bank announced a monthly debit card fee within days of each other.

Please see full newsletter below for more information.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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