According to the US government, dire immigration consequences face non-US nationals if they are convicted for violating US antitrust laws. According to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Department of Justice's (DOJ) Antitrust Division and the DOJ’s former Immigration and Naturalization Service, non-US individuals convicted under the Sherman Antitrust Act will not be able to travel to the United States for at least 15 years, because it is a “crime involving moral turpitude" (CIMT). The government will, however, agree to waive this immigration consequence if the individual pleads guilty to the offense rather than going to trial. As a result, the MOU deters non-US individuals charged with antitrust violations from defending themselves at trial. The DOJ has only ever convicted two foreign nationals at trial for violating the Sherman Act. Meanwhile, more than 50 other foreign nationals have pleaded guilty to Sherman Act violations pursuant to the MOU.
This article discusses whether violations of the Sherman Act are actually CIMTs, concluding that they are not and questioning the DOJ's use of this leverage.
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