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Leniency Programs to Fight Hard-Core Cartels

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A primary enforcement tool against hard-core cartels is the promise of lenient treatment to encourage violators to confess and implicate their co-conspirators with first-hand, direct evidence. Substantial fines in major international cartel cases have been obtained through such offers of amnesty or leniency. The principal features of existing programs are described: the importance of clarity and priority, the value of offering leniency even after an investigation has begun, the informant’s role in the conspiracy and the probative value of the evidence it provides, considerations of good faith and fairness, and the extent of otherwise applicable penalties, including sanctions against individuals as well as firms. Assuring confidentiality is critical, but such assurances should not hamper co-operation among enforcers, in part because a firm that decides to seek leniency will have a strong incentive to confess early and often, in every relevant jurisdiction.

Page Count: 58

Document Type: Review Article

Publication date: 2001-09-01

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