Our transatlantic practice makes us one of the few firms able to provide an integrated approach in the growing number of cartel investigations conducted in parallel by authorities in Europe, the United States and other jurisdictions.

WilmerHale’s Cartel Enforcement Practice is an integral part of our Antitrust and Competition Practice—one of the premier such practices in the United States and Europe. Whether seeking and obtaining leniency or contesting allegations, we have substantial experience handling US Department of Justice (DOJ), European Commission (EC) and European national authority cartel investigations and related litigation. Our cartel practice includes preventive compliance counseling through internal investigation and counseling when questions arise, dealing with the antitrust authorities to avoid or minimize liability, criminal and private litigation, and appeals.

In many cases, cartel investigations are coordinated among authorities in multiple jurisdictions. Our lawyers bring unique experience and insight to these investigations, and to the workings of the antitrust agencies in most jurisdictions actively involved in cartel enforcement—including Canada, Brazil, Mexico, Australia, Japan and Korea, among many others. Our lawyers have represented clients in some of the largest and most complex cartel investigations before the DOJ, where we represent companies and individuals, and before the EC and European national authorities such as the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and Benelux.

Mueller, Thomas

Thomas Mueller

Chair, Antitrust and Competition Practice Group

+1 202 663 6766 (t)



Our firm has advised and represented clients in many of the largest cartel cases in key industries, including auto parts, air cargo, TFT-LCD flat panel, bearings, capacitors, Libor, municipal derivatives, forex, credit default swaps, auto glass, parcel tanker, oil and gas, soda ash, bathroom fixtures, flour milling, graphite electrodes, pre-insulated heating pipe, industrial tubes, copper plumbing tubes, vitamins, and synthetic rubber.

Our Berlin and Brussels offices have been involved in most of the major investigations by the German Federal Cartel Office. And we have an extensive cartel litigation practice, encompassing private antitrust damage litigation in the United States and appeals in the European courts.

Some of our representative matters include:

  • Representing Japanese auto parts manufacturer DENSO and its US subsidiary in a criminal antitrust investigation and civil class action litigation. We secured a favorable settlement on behalf of DENSO with the DOJ in the largest antitrust investigation in US history.
  • Obtaining leniency in the United States, EC and other jurisdictions for a major European air cargo carrier and defending it in the treble damage class action litigations filed in the wake of the DOJ investigation.
  • Representing a TFT-LCD manufacturer in a DOJ investigation and in related private treble damage class action litigations.
  • Representing a major Norwegian shipping company in securing a substantial downward departure for its “exemplary cooperation” in a US antitrust grand jury investigation.
  • Representing one of the appellants in the EC’s landmark Cement Cartel case, which concerned procedural and substantive issues in cartel enforcement. We obtained annulment of the fine that had been imposed on our client.
  • Representing a Finnish producer in the Industrial Tubes and Copper Plumbing Tubes cases, obtaining 70% reductions in the fines imposed.

Publications & News


March 30, 2017

WilmerHale Wins Two Global Competition Review Awards

The firm received the Litigation of the Year – Cartel Defence award for its representation of Denso and the Litigation of the Year – Cartel Prosecution award for its representation of candy-maker Katjes.

March 21, 2017

WilmerHale Recognized for Outstanding International Lawyers and Practices in Chambers Global 2017

Chambers Global has named 27 WilmerHale lawyers among "The World's Leading Lawyers for Business" in its 2017 edition.

June 22, 2016

The Legal 500 United States 2016 Recognizes 111 WilmerHale Lawyers Across 30 Practice Areas

The guide's rankings are based on a series of criteria, including client feedback, interviews with private practice lawyers, and its own research.

May 27, 2016

WilmerHale Lawyers and Practices Recognized in 2016 Edition of Chambers USA

Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business announced its final rankings for the 2016 edition, with WilmerHale ranking among the nation's best in 47 practice area categories. Chambers also ranked 82 WilmerHale lawyers as leaders in their respective fields.

May 11, 2016

Heather Tewksbury Selected as a Top Woman Lawyer by Daily Journal for Second Time

The Daily Journal has named WilmerHale Partner Heather Tewksbury to its list of Top Women Lawyers in California, which recognizes exceptional female lawyers who prove to be leaders in the industry.

March 23, 2016

Chambers Global 2016 Ranks WilmerHale Lawyers, Practices

Chambers Global has named 27 WilmerHale lawyers among “The World's Leading Lawyers for Business” in its 2016 edition. Additionally, the firm is ranked in 15 practice areas that span five regions.

July 1, 2014

The Cutting Edge EU-US Legal Practices (5); European Court of Justice Provides Guidance Regarding Potential Liability of Cartel Members in EU Member States for Sales by Non-Cartel Participants

An article by Frédéric Louis and Takeshige Sugimoto, published in the July 2014 edition of The Journal of the Japanese Institute of International Business Law, Vol. 42, No. 7, pp. 1130-1132.

June 10, 2014

European Court of Justice Provides Guidance Regarding Potential Liability of Cartel Members in EU Member States for Sales by Non-Cartel Participants

Last week, the EU’s highest court, the European Court of Justice (ECJ), held that Member State laws may not categorically prohibit consumers from recovering from cartel members damages attributable to purchases from non-cartel participants that—acting independently—were able to charge inflated prices as a result of market-wide price effects from cartel behavior.

April 7, 2014

Department of Justice Obtains First Litigated Extradition for Antitrust Violations

On April 4, 2014, the United States Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division announced the first successful extradition of a foreign national to the United States to stand trial for alleged US criminal antitrust law violations.

April 7, 2014

WilmerHale Provides Wide-Ranging Antitrust Insights at ABA Antitrust Spring Meeting

WilmerHale was a significant contributor to the 62nd Spring Meeting of the ABA Section of Antitrust Law, an annual three-day event recognized as the largest antitrust and consumer protection conference in the world, with nearly 2,900 registered participants.