Justice accepts antitrust e-mail

The increasing use of the Internet as a means of communicating with government has prompted the Justice Department to issue an online call for leads involving antitrust violations.

"We've been considering this for quite some time. It's simply a way to make ourselves available more readily to people who use the Internet as a means of communication," said Jim Griffin, deputy assistant attorney general for criminal enforcement in the Antitrust Division.

"We still have telephones, and we still receive letters," he said, "but more and more people communicate with each other and with government agencies through the Internet."

The call for information was added to the Antitrust Division's New Case Unit last week.

The posting is not simply a call to innocents who might be aware of violations, however. It's also an enticement to those who might have committed violations.

"Individuals or companies with concerns that they may have been involved in criminal antitrust violations may cooperate with the Antitrust Division and avoid prosecution if they meet the conditions of our individual or corporate leniency (amnesty) policies," the announcement on the Web site states.

Anyone wanting to contact the department regarding violations can write to newcase.atr@usdoj.gov.

Two of the biggest antitrust cases being prosecuted by Justice—against Microsoft Corp. and American Airlines Inc.—also are noted on the site, with a different e-mail address for comments.

"One of the reasons for those two separate [addresses] is the number of communications we're getting about those cases. We felt we should have a separate site to collect all the information coming in on those," Griffin said.

E-mail messages on those cases should go to Microsoft.atr@usdoj.gov and American.atr@usdoj.gov.

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