Feds Streamline Confidentiality Waiver For International Antitrust Investigations
The U.S. Department of Justice Antitrust Division and the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) have announced that they are issuing a new joint model waiver of confidentiality designed to facilitate international antitrust investigations.
The Antitrust Division and the FTC often ask individuals and companies involved in civil investigations to permit the agencies to share confidential information provided in the investigation to foreign antitrust enforcers that are investigating the same matter. According to a press release from the Antitrust Division and the FTC, the revised “model waiver is designed to streamline the waiver process to significantly reduce the burden on individuals and companies, as well as to reduce the agencies’ time and resources involved in negotiating waivers.”
One of the most important revisions in the model waiver is its treatment of privileged information by the federal agencies. According to the press release, the waiver “provides the terms on which an individual or company agrees to waive statutory confidentiality protections to the agency that originally received the company’s confidential information.” The press release also states that the revised model waiver “reflects both agencies’ recent experience with waivers, incorporating updated language and provisions.”
In updating the waiver, the Antitrust Division and the FTC are attempting to improve cooperation in international antitrust investigations as well as protect confidential information. The agencies stated that “by permitting cooperating agencies to discuss and otherwise exchange the individual’s or the company’s confidential information, a waiver enables agencies to make more informed, consistent decisions and coordinate more effectively often expediting the review.”
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