Posted by : Matthew Wild | On : November 16, 2008

On November 10, 2008, the DOJ Antitrust Division’s criminal section lost another high profile criminal price fixing trial. This time the individual defendant was acquitted of alleged participation in the highly publicized marine hose cartel that had resulted in numerous guilty pleas.  After a two-week trial, the jury returned a verdict in less than two hours.  Paul Calli, Michael Pasano and Marissel Descalzo of Carlton Fields, P.A. represented the defendant.  (Carlton Fields press release)  The criminal section has lost a number of high profile trials recently — DRAM (hung jury; decision not to re-prosecute) and magazine paper.



Posted by : Matthew Wild | On : March 15, 2008

In March 2008, the Antitrust division (Criminal Section) lost two price-fixing cases. On March 7, 2008, after an 11-day trial, Judge Phyllis Hamilton of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California declared a mistrial in United States v. Swanson because of a hung jury (which voted 10-2 for acquittal). The Antitrust Division has decided not to re-try Swanson. Charles Swanson, a former U.S. executive of Hynix Semiconductor, was the only defendant to go to trial in the cartel prosecutions of DRAM manufacturers. Four corporations (Samsung, Hynix, Infineon and Elpida Memory) and 16 individuals pleaded guilty. Fines exceeded $730 million and individual prison sentences ranged from 3 to 10 months. John Barthko of Barthko Zankel Tarrant & Miller represented Swanson. On March 12, 2008, the U.K. House of Lords declined to extradite Ian Norris, the former CEO of Morgan Crucible who the Antitrust Division (Criminal Section) had indicted for price-fixing in connection with electrical carbon cartel. Price-fixing was not a crime in the U.K. at the time that Norris was indicted and, therefore, Norris was not subject to extradition for the offense. To avoid that obstacle, the Antitrust Division also charged Norris with obstruction of justice and sought his extradition on that charge. Norris is subject to further proceedings and potential extradition on the obstruction charge. He was represented by Lawrence Byrne (Linklaters LLP) in the United States and Alistair Graham (White & Case LLP) in the U.K. This is the fourth recent blow to the Antitrust Division’s Criminal Section. On November 30, 2007, the United States District Court for the District of Delaware dismissed a price-fixing indictment against Stolt-Nielsen holding that the Antitrust Division breached its amnesty agreement. See United States v. Stolt-Nielsen S.A., 524 F. Supp. 2d 609 (E.D. Penn 2007). Solt was represented by Mark Gidley and Chris Curran (White & Case LLP). On July 19, 2007, Stora Enso North America was acquitted of price-fixing in the United States District Court for the District of Connecticut. The jury returned its verdict in less than two hours.