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Australian Antitrust Probes Could Make Use of Obstruction Charges, Former U.S. Justice Department Official Says

MLex Market Insight

18 Oct 2019

Morrison & Forster partner Lisa Phelan spoke to MLex Market Insight about how criminal obstruction charges against former BlueScope Steel manager Jason Ellis could be leveled for future cartel probes in Australia.

“Australian regulators may realize [an obstruction charge] is an important lever over the head of executives,” Lisa said. “Without it, it’s hard to break the idea within companies that if no one speaks, no one gets in trouble. Without obstruction charges, it would be much harder to bring cartel cases, because people hide evidence and the fear of obstruction charges sometimes stop them. It’s an important tool in building a cartel case.”

Lisa added that “hopefully [Australian regulators] see the value in the measure, despite the extra time and resources it requires.”

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