Skip to content

Antitrust Investigations

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is investigating and prosecuting national and international cartels at an increasing rate. It is now commonplace that the DOJ will collect more than $1 billion in fines and bring more than 50 criminal cases on an annual basis. Since 2009, the DOJ has obtained more than $5 billion in criminal fines. Average jail sentences for antitrust crimes are now 24 months of incarceration. A top priority of the DOJ is to prosecute international price-fixing and bid-rigging agreements that impact U.S. consumers.

Vinson & Elkins’ lawyers have represented corporate defendants and/or individuals in nearly every major investigation over the past decade. Partnering with our Government Investigations and White Collar practice, our Antitrust team includes experienced former DOJ prosecutors and seasoned defense lawyers who are able to effectively defend companies and individuals summoned before grand juries or indicted for alleged antitrust offenses. We have represented clients in such diverse industries as transportation, computer products, steel, chemicals, energy services, real estate, consumer products, and food and beverages, representing both domestic and foreign companies and individuals in connection with alleged international conspiracies.

In addition, our team has helped many companies avoid criminal investigations by proactively conducting internal investigations and conducting antitrust training. Indeed, we have also represented companies in obtaining amnesty from the Antitrust Division of the DOJ. The government has a very successful amnesty program that allows companies to self-report antitrust violations in return for an agreement that the corporation and its employees will not be prosecuted. In short, we know the process and are able to move clients through the investigation effectively and efficiently, and when necessary, we are prepared to litigate.

Experience Highlights

  • Represented a leading automobile parts supplier and its affiliates in the Department of Justice’s automotive parts investigation

  • Represented a global manufacturer of commodity chemicals in a civil antitrust case and related grand jury investigation alleging that our client conspired to fix prices of polyurethane chemicals; the investigation was terminated without any indictments

  • Represented a foreign corporation in a DOJ investigation of criminal international antitrust violations, including price-fixing and global market allocation in the maritime construction industry; client was not charged and ancillary civil litigation was resolved favorably

  • Represented real estate investor and related entities in connection with a DOJ investigation involving allegations of bid-rigging

  • Represented hospital in a DOJ investigation of a rural hospital with regard to claims of monopolization and attempted monopolization

  • Represented a major oil and gas producer in response to separate investigations by the Attorneys General of Texas and Louisiana regarding alleged anticompetitive conduct in the administration of drug testing services for workers on offshore oil and gas producing facilities; after responding to requests for documents and providing interviews, the AGs separately closed their investigations without taking any action against the client