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Why Has The DOJ Stopped Civilly Enforcing The FCPA?

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The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act specifically authorizes the DOJ to civilly (not just criminally) enforce the statute against non-issuers.

Indeed, between 1991 and 2001 approximately 35% of all DOJ corporate FCPA enforcement actions were civil actions. However, the last time the DOJ invoked this express statutory remedy was in 2001 and the question is posed: why has the DOJ stopped civilly enforcing the FCPA?

Make sure to read to the end of the post to hear the DOJ’s non-responsive answer to this question.

Perhaps instead of creating new ways to enforce the FCPA not even mentioned in the statute (such as non-prosecution agreements, deferred prosecution agreements and most recently declinations with disgorgements) the DOJ should go back to enforcing the FCPA in ways expressly authorized by Congress.

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FCPA Flash Podcast – A Conversation With Jay Darden Regarding DOJ FCPA Enforcement

FCPA Flash

The FCPA Flash podcast provides in an audio format the same fresh, candid, and informed commentary about the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and related topics as readers have come to expect from written posts on FCPA Professor.

This FCPA Flash episode is a conversation with Jay Darden (Paul Hastings and former Assistant Chief of the DOJ’s Fraud Section). In the episode, Darden discusses what FCPA practitioners need to understand about being a DOJ FCPA attorney and along the same lines what DOJ FCPA enforcement attorneys need to understand about being an FCPA practitioner. Darden also provides a list of things he would change about the FCPA or FCPA enforcement and comments on recent FCPA enforcement actions concerning internship and hiring practices.

FCPA Flash is sponsored by Kroll. Kroll is trusted by companies and compliance officers worldwide to help prevent, detect, and remediate FCPA challenges with scalable, end-to-end compliance solutions: from high-volume third party screening and automated monitoring, to risk-based due diligence, to complex investigations and monitorships.

DOJ Is Noncommittal Regarding The Future Of Its FCPA Pilot Program, But Who Really Cares?

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On April 5, 2016, the DOJ announced a one-year FCPA Pilot Program (see here for the prior post).

With just a few weeks left in the program, the DOJ could easily make an emphatic statement about the future of the program.

But that is not what Acting Assistant Attorney General Kenneth Blanco did last week in a speech at the ABA National Institute on White Collar Crime.

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The DOJ (And U.K. SFO) Are “Shooting Themselves In The Foot”

shootingselffoot

Both the Department of Justice and the Serious Fraud Office in the U.K. want companies to voluntarily disclose conduct that implicates the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and/or Bribery Act. Notwithstanding the DOJ slapping a formal title on its policy goal in April 2016 (i.e. the FCPA Pilot Program), this has long been the articulated policy position on both sides of the Atlantic for nearly a decade.

Why then are the DOJ and SFO shooting themselves in the foot by making decisions that should result in any board member, audit committee member, or general counsel informed of current events not making the decision to voluntarily disclose?

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DOJ Deputy Assistant Attorney General McFadden Delivers The FCPA Script

script

One can predict with a high degree of certainty what high-ranking DOJ officials will say about the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act before even hearing or reading the speech (and I say that based on highlighting on these pages over 100 FCPA enforcement agency speeches since 2009).

The script goes like this: the DOJ places a high-priority on FCPA enforcement as well as transparent enforcement; the DOJ is committed not just to corporate enforcement, but holding individuals accountable as well; and companies benefit from voluntary disclosure and cooperation.

New DOJ Deputy Assistant Attorney General Trevor McFadden delivered the script recently in this speech. However, if you want to know how McFadden really feels about DOJ enforcement of the FCPA you might want to review his recent writings on the topic highlighted in this recent post.

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