By: Robert Connolly (Cartel Capers)
In this article, author Robert Connolly underscores the need for a criminal antitrust whistleblower statute by drawing attention to the success of whistleblower programs employed by the SEC, CFTC, and other financial fraud enforcement agencies. Connolly highlights the agencies’ reliance on incentivizing individuals to expose illegal schemes, a strategy that has proven effective in their endeavors.
However, he contrasts this with the situation at the Antitrust Division, where a lack of a similar whistleblower program has led to a decline in the number of filed cases. Fiscal 2023 witnessed only 9 criminal antitrust cases, potentially setting a record low. Connolly acknowledges that this isn’t a critique of the Antitrust Division, recognizing the multifaceted and intricate factors contributing to the low case count.
Notably, he points out that the once-strong Corporate Leniency Policy, designed to incentivize corporations to self-report, has lost some of its allure. A crucial aspect of a successful leniency program is the “credible threat of detection,” which appears notably low with the diminishing number of prosecutions.
In response, Connolly advocates for the introduction of a potent criminal enforcement tool – an individual whistleblower program. Emphasizing that this program would complement rather than replace the existing Corporate Leniency Policy, Connolly argues that it would elevate the “threat of detection.” By encouraging individuals with knowledge of cartel activities to step forward, this approach could prompt corporations to reconsider non-disclosure and incentivize transparency in reporting wrongdoing…