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Cartels

Cartels

Cartel enforcement is the top priority of a growing number of antitrust authorities across the globe. Cartel matters are increasingly coordinated, involving investigations across multiple jurisdictions in the EU, US and Asia.

Shearman & Sterling’s antitrust team handles complex multi-jurisdictional cartel and grand jury investigations, as well as class action litigations. Our focus is on contentious matters and the strategic response to global antitrust investigations by multiple enforcement authorities.

Shearman & Sterling has developed a website, Cartel Digest (www.carteldigest.com), which is dedicated to gathering international cartel enforcement data, allowing our attorneys and clients to analyze enforcement trends across the globe.

Prevention of any cartel behavior is obviously the optimal strategy. However, if a company becomes the subject of a cartel investigation, careful coordination of tactics in the various relevant jurisdictions is essential to ensure an effective defense. The combination of our vast cartel experience and global presence enables us to provide clients with swift, coordinated and effective global representation against allegations of cartel behavior.

Coordinated Global Representation

Shearman & Sterling has an integrated group of international lawyers with a high level of experience in US and European investigations, criminal and administrative antitrust enforcement, white collar defense and counseling, and civil litigation. We regularly advise on all cartel-related issues, including:

  • Grand jury investigations
  • US DOJ prosecutions and plea agreements
  • US class action proceedings
  • EU and national administrative enforcement proceedings
  • “Dawn raids” by the European Commission and national agencies
  • Antitrust litigation before European national courts
  • Leniency advice and applications
  • Securities and stock exchange disclosures
  • Labor and employment issues
  • US Government contracting debarment actions
  • National criminal investigations
  • Appellate proceedings

Featured Matters

  • Areva in relation to National Grid’s claim for damages, the largest such claim made in the UK to date, following a European Commission decision in the gas insulated switchgear cartel.
  • AU Optronics’ Chief Executive L.J. Chen in a criminal trial regarding alleged price-fixing in the market for liquid crystal display panels. The client was acquitted while in the same trial, AU Optronics Corp. and two executives were found guilty of conspiring to fix prices in the LCD panel market.
  • Barclays Bank in one of the largest antitrust class action lawsuits in the US relating to alleged price-fixing in the credit card industry involving a putative class of about seven million merchants. The case was settled.
  • Cargolux in the air cargo fuel surcharge cartel investigations by the European Commission and the US Department of Justice and in related federal class action in the US, as well as follow-on civil actions in several EU member states.
  • Ciba in the European Commission’s heat stabilizers cartel investigation. Members of the team also defended Arkema S.A. securing the abandonment of a major part of the Commission allegations after the oral hearing.
  • Hilton Worldwide, Inc. on inspections by the Swedish Competition Authority (SCA).
  • Huhtamäki in the European Commission’s cartel investigation into the packaging industry.
  • Hynix Semiconductor’s senior executive in the US Department of Justice’s dynamic random access memory (DRAM) investigation into alleged cartel conduct in the industry.
  • Major international financial institutions in the context of the EU and US on-going interbank benchmark interest rates investigations and litigations into the alleged manipulation of Libor, Euribor and Tibor rates governing trillions of dollars of transactions throughout the world.
  • Major international hotel chain in an investigation by the UK Office of Fair Trading.
  • JTEKT Corp. in the US Department of Justice investigation into an alleged international price-fixing cartel involving automotive bearings products and in related follow-on class action litigation.
  • A group of Solvay employees in the US Department of Justice’s price-fixing investigation of the hydrogen peroxide market.
  • Sumitomo Rubber Industries in antitrust litigation alleging a cartel to fix the prices of marine hoses.
  • Suntech in a case brought by Solyndra against several Chinese solar tech defendants for allegedly conspiring to drive Solyndra out of business through below-cost pricing and disrupting Solyndra’s customer relationships.
  • Trelleborg AB in its appeal of the European Commission marine hose cartel decision, before the General Court.
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