On July 11, 2019, Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim announced that the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice was reversing its longstanding policy of insisting on guilty pleas for companies involved in criminal violations of the antitrust laws that do not otherwise qualify for leniency under the Antitrust Division’s Corporate Leniency Policy. This shift opens a new path to a potential deferred prosecution agreement for companies with “effective” antitrust compliance programs, measured under new guidance (the “Guidance”) issued by the Antitrust Division for evaluating such programs. The Guidance provides a detailed set of factors that Antitrust Division attorneys are to consider in assessing, among other considerations, companies’ pre-existing antitrust compliance programs in making charging decisions. The Guidance also clarifies the Antitrust Division’s policy on evaluating the effectiveness of compliance programs in making sentencing recommendations. Companies should review the Guidance carefully to understand the Antitrust Division’s expectations regarding antitrust compliance.

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