• On February 2, Scott D. Hammond was appointed to serve as the Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Criminal Enforcement for the Antitrust Division. Mr. Hammond replaces James M. Griffin, who retired from the DOJ in December 2004. Mr. Hammond will have supervisory authority over the Antitrust Division’s domestic and international criminal antitrust investigations and prosecutions. As Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Criminal Enforcement, he will be responsible for reviewing all recommendations to open criminal investigations or bring criminal charges. He will also be responsible for reviewing all requests for amnesty under the Antitrust Division’s Corporate and Individual Leniency Program. Mr. Hammond has served as the Director of Criminal Enforcement for the Division since 2000.
  • On January 31, SBC Communications Inc. (“SBC”), the second-largest regional phone company in the nation, said it would buy AT&T Corp. (“AT&T”), the biggest U.S. long-distance carrier, for about $16 billion, making SBC the largest U.S. telecommunications company and ending AT&T’s independence after suffering a two-decade decline after losing its U.S. monopoly. The Antitrust Division is expected to review the deal.
  • On January 21, it was reported that Sprint Corporation and Nextel Communications filed documents with the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission that would initiate the DOJ’s review of the deal. The filings are required under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976.
  • On January 21, Ionics, Incorporated (“Ionics”) announced that the 30-day waiting period under the HSR Act relating to Ionics’ proposed acquisition by General Electric Company expired.
  • On January 18, the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice issued a request for additional information and documentary material (often referred to as a “Second Request”) to Toppan and DuPont Photomasks regarding the proposed transaction. The information request was issued under notification requirements of the HSR Act. They reported that they intend to cooperate fully with the Department of Justice and respond promptly to the Second Request.
  • On January 12, Zeon Chemicals L.P., a Kentucky based, wholly owned subsidiary of Zeon Corporation of Tokyo, agreed to plead guilty and to pay a $10.5 million criminal fine for participating in a conspiracy to fix prices of synthetic rubber used to manufacture a variety of products including automotive parts. The charge is part of an ongoing investigation by the Antitrust Division’s Sand Francisco Field Office and the FBI.
  • On January 10, Scott Hammond, Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Criminal Enforcement in the DOJ’s Antitrust Division, gave a speech at the ABA’s Mid-Winter Meeting, focusing on recent developments in the antitrust division’s criminal enforcement program. He opened by stating “The detection, prosecution, and deterrence of cartel offenses is the highest priority of the Antitrust Division. The Division places a particular emphasis on combating international cartels that target U.S. markets because of the breadth and magnitude of the harm that they inflict on American businesses and consumers. This enforcement strategy has succeeded in cracking dozens of international cartels, securing convictions and jail sentences against culpable executives, and obtaining record-breaking corporate fines.”

Authored by:
Andre Barlow