Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Nonprosecution Agreement Doesn't Guarantee a Dodged Bullet

Most companies assume that they've successfully dodged a bullet when they sign a nonprosecution agreement with the government. That's certainly what shipping giant Stolt-Nielsen S.A. thought when its subsidiary struck a deal three years ago to avoid federal criminal charges for antitrust violations.
But shortly after the deal was concluded, the government said it would indict Stolt-Nielsen anyway because the company had broken the pact. Stolt-Nielsen maintains that the government is the one who isn't living up to the deal, and in July asked the U.S. Supreme Court to block the indictment.

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