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News - 27/07/20

US Congress Reauthorizes the Antitrust Criminal Penalty Enhancement and Reform Act

Antitrust Criminal Penalty Enhancement and Reform Act (“ACPERA”) sections 212-214 might continue to exist after both the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate passed identical bills, H.R. 7036 and S. 3377, repealing the ACPERA sunset provision, on June 25.[1]

ACPERA was enacted in 2004, aiming to provide incentives for the cooperation of antitrust violators with government prosecutors and private litigants in antitrust cases.

Since its creation, the Act has extensively empowered the US Department of Justice Antitrust ability to identify and prosecute anticompetitive cartel activity through the Leniency Program. Over $9 billion in criminal fines and penalties, with jail time term for more than 250 individuals occurred from the Fiscal Year of 2010 to 2019, as a result of the ACPERA provisions.[2]

The US DOJ applauded the reauthorization enacted by both Houses of Congress, and considers that the legislation is a relevant tool that according to the Antitrust Division Deputy Attorney General for Criminal Enforcement Richard A. Powers, “incentives to self-report, seek leniency, and cooperate with our investigations will continue to assist the Division´s mission of deterring, detecting, and prosecuting cartel offenses.”

The legislation is now waiting to be signed by the President.

 

 

[1] Sunset Provision: in US Law is considered a provision of law that it will automatically be terminated after a fixed period of time unless it is extend by law. (definition available at: https://www.collinsdictionary.com/dictionary/english/sunset-clause).

[2] Available at: https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/department-justice-applauds-congressional-passage-reauthorization-antitrust-criminal-penalty.