Deputy Attorney General’s Address on Corporate Enforcement Priorities
In his recent address, the Deputy Attorney General emphasized the Department of Justice’s commitment to consistency, predictability, and transparency in corporate criminal enforcement.
The speech also highlighted the increasing importance of national security in corporate enforcement efforts.
Let’s dive into the key points of this address.
Promoting Voluntary Self-Disclosure (VSD)
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has placed a premium on voluntary self-disclosure (VSD) by companies. To promote consistency, all 94 U.S. Attorneys’ Offices have adopted a single VSD policy.
This move aims to encourage companies to come forward and self-disclose misconduct, even in cases with aggravating circumstances.
Transparency and Predictability
Enhancing transparency and predictability is another key aspect of the DOJ’s corporate enforcement strategy.
The Criminal Division’s policy now clearly outlines what companies need to do to secure a presumption of declination through a voluntary self-disclosure.
This approach provides companies with a better understanding of the requirements and potential outcomes.
Real-World Example: Corsa Coal Corporation
A real-world example illustrates the DOJ’s commitment to this policy. Corsa Coal Corporation received a declination from the Criminal Division and the U.S. Attorney’s Office despite using bribes to secure contracts.
The company timely and voluntarily self-disclosed the misconduct, cooperated, remediated, and disgorged profits, demonstrating the benefits of the new approach.
Corporate Responsibility in Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A)
The DOJ recognizes the importance of corporate responsibility in M&A transactions. The Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs highlights the need for compliance voices to be included in the M&A process.
The Corporate Enforcement Policy offers incentives for misconduct reported during due diligence, encouraging companies to proactively address compliance issues in acquisitions.
The Department’s Stance on Breaches
The DOJ takes breaches of prior resolutions seriously.
Companies that fail to honor their obligations under deferred prosecution agreements (DPAs) and non-prosecution agreements (NPAs) may face severe consequences.
Requiring a guilty plea after a breach is no longer exceptional, becoming a standard approach.
Innovations in Compensation Systems
The DOJ expects companies to use compensation systems to incentivize ethical behavior and deter wrongdoing.
The Department has launched a pilot program to encourage compliance-promoting behavior through compensation and bonuses.
Companies are encouraged to design systems that align employees’ interests with ethical corporate culture.
National Security and Corporate Crime
The intersection of corporate crime and national security is becoming increasingly significant.
The DOJ is addressing national security challenges through sanctions, export control laws, and other measures.
National security cases span various industries and criminal charges, emphasizing the need for corporate compliance programs to evolve.
DOJ’s Efforts in National Security
The DOJ is actively increasing its capacity in the corporate crime and national security intersection. New prosecutors are being hired, and units like the National Security Division and the Criminal Division’s Bank Integrity Unit are expanding.
The Department is committed to countering national security threats related to corporate misconduct.
Collaboration and Outreach
Collaboration between the public and private sectors is crucial in addressing national security risks.
The DOJ is working closely with victim companies in cyber- and crypto-enabled crime cases and increasing outreach efforts to raise awareness of national security compliance risks.
In conclusion, the Deputy Attorney General’s address underscores the DOJ’s multifaceted approach to corporate enforcement, emphasizing voluntary self-disclosure, transparency, and the growing importance of national security in corporate crime cases.
Collaboration between the government and industry is essential to addressing evolving threats effectively.