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Are Antitrust Violations Crimes Involving Moral Turpitude?
By Eric Grannon and Nicolle Kownacki
On March 13, 2012, the United States obtained its first trial convictions ever against foreign nationals for antitrust violations under the Sherman Act. A Northern District of California jury found two of the five defendants, all from Taiwan, guilty of conspiring to fix the prices of thin-film transistor liquid crystal displays. The jury acquitted two other defendants and one received a mistrial after the jury failed to reach a verdict as to that defendant.
Prior to these first-ever trial convictions, the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice reported that since 1999 the DOJ had obtained jail-time convictions for more than 50 non-U.S. executives for violations of the Sherman Act. Each of these convictions was by plea agreement, rather than by trial, and at least eight more pleas by non-U.S. individuals under the Sherman Act are currently pending court approval.1
One common element in virtually all of these plea agreements is a provision in which the gove
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