If you are representing a client who committed a criminal antitrust violation such as price fixing, bid rigging or horizontal market allocation, at some point you’ll probably come to the Antitrust Division’s Office of Criminal Enforcement (OCE) in Washington, D.C., to ask for amnesty, a favorable charging decision, or help in obtaining a lesser sentence. You can do a lot of good for your client with an effective presentation at this critical meeting–and a lot of harm if you take the wrong approach. We have participated as government lawyers in hundreds of these meetings. Although our Do’s and Don’ts come from the government’s perspective, we believe that successful meetings, with few exceptions, achieve the goals of both the Division and defense counsel.
The OCE supervises all criminal investigations and prosecutions (which are conducted by seven field offices and the Litigation I section in Washington, D.C.) It consists of the deputy assistant attorney general for criminal enforcement (deputy), the director of criminal enforcement (director), and their staff. Both the deputy and the director normally attend the charge-dispositive meetings that are the subject of this article. It is extremely rare for the assistant attorney general in charge of the Antitrust Division to meet with defense counsel in criminal matters.
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