Makan Delrahim, head of antitrust at the Us Justice Department, has dropped an antitrust investigation into Google in an effort to avoid private conflicts of interest. The conflict of interest stems from Mr. Drahim’s previous lawyer’s job, the report said. Back in 2007, he lobbied on behalf of search giant Google for doubleClick, an advertising technology company.
In response, the U.S. Department of Justice confirmed in a statement that “as the review of technology companies continues to progress, Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim has re-examined potential conflicts with previous work with the Justice Department’s Ethics Office.” “
A Justice Department spokesman added that “Drahim and the Ethics Office have decided that, out of caution, Mr. Drahim should now recuse himself from the investigation of technology companies.” “
Drahim’s withdrawal comes at a time when the investigation into the Justice Department’s technology companies is entering a deeper phase. Last week it was reported that the Justice Department had met with attorneys general in at least seven states, potentially paving the way for the two groups to merge their investigations into Google.
Last May it was reported that the U.S. Department of Justice would investigate technology companies such as Google, and state attorneys general announced their investigations into companies such as Google last September.
Mr. Derahim’s potential conflict of interest has previously been questioned by Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, the Democratic presidential candidate. The reason is that In 2007, Mr. Drahim, who lobbied for DoubleClick on behalf of Google, paid Mr. Drahim for $100,000.
In fact, throughout the campaign, Warren has been outspoken about her desire to spin off big technology companies, including Google.
In response to Drahim’s withdrawal, the Justice Department said in a statement that the Justice Department’s investigation will now be led by Deputy Attorney Ryan Shores and Deputy Assistant Attorney General Alex Okuliar.