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Navigating an antitrust investigation

Successful business is essential to the continued growth and stability of any economy. For that reason, the government maintains strict laws against monopolies, and those companies they find to have inappropriate practices may face antitrust charges, which hold stiff penalties.

If your company is facing such allegations, it is important to understand what they entail to mount a proper defense. The investigation process is essential to these cases, and there are a few things you should know about the procedure.

The law

Antitrust laws are a part of the Sherman Act, which outlines the process for proper business activity. The Sherman antitrust act serves as the main catalyst for governing business practices, but most states have additional supplementary laws. It is important that businesses be aware of these additional laws and regulations.

Subpoena and seizure

Antitrust investigations usually begin with the government issuing a subpoena for the search of a particular business. FBI agents then infiltrate the facility and seize documents, files, and other information they deem as potential evidence. To avoid possible obstruction of justice charges, it is imperative companies institute a document hold to halt retention and destruction policies for all documentation during the investigation.

Investigation

Along with the government's investigation, companies should conduct internal investigations themselves. Such actions can help determine the best route to take. If it is possible for the company to identify and rectify the wrongdoing themselves, it may be possible for the business to qualify for the antitrust leniency policy. Otherwise, it may be wise for the company to seek a plea deal with the government. Should the investigation show evidence of no wrongdoing, developing a strong defense to beat the charges may be beneficial. Consulting with a knowledgeable attorney can be quite helpful in making the best selection.

This is a short overview of the investigation process. If your company faces investigation, make sure you understand what you are facing and seek appropriate legal assistance.

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