WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The head of the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division, Makan Delrahim, has been recused from the Google portion of the agency’s review of big technology platforms due to potential conflicts of interest, a spokesman for the agency said on Tuesday.
The department said in late July that it was opening a broad antitrust investigation of the big digital firms — Alphabet’s Google (GOOGL.O), Amazon (AMZN.O), Apple (AAPL.O) and Facebook (FB.O). Attorney General Bill Barr has since said he would like it completed by the end of the year.
A spokesman for the department said Delrahim has “revisited potential conflicts” with the department’s ethics office.
“He and the ethics office have decided that he should now recuse himself from a matter within the tech review in an abundance of caution,” the spokesman said in a statement.
The review is being overseen by Associate Deputy Attorney General Ryan Shores, while Deputy Assistant Attorney General Alex Okuliar, who is new to the antitrust division, is also involved in the review.
The New York Times was the first to report the recusal.
Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Bernadette Baum