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Assistant Attorney General Benczkowski On Corporate Compliance And His Odd Use Of The Term “Deterrence”

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Last week Assistant Attorney General Brian Benczkowski gave this speech at the 20th Annual Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Compliance Congress – an event frequently on the DOJ’s speech calendar.

As highlighted below, Benczkowski delivered typical Department of Justice corporate compliance talking points.

However, what stood out in his speech was his repeated odd use of the word “deterrence.”

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Attorney General Barr Discusses The DOJ’s Cooperation And Coordination With The SEC

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The Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission are separate law enforcement agencies.

However, in certain areas – including the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act – the law enforcement agencies often work together.

In this recent speech, Attorney General William Barr discussed the DOJ’s cooperation and coordination with the SEC.

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DOJ Releases Memo Titled “Evaluating A Business Organization’s Inability To Pay A Criminal Fine Or Criminal Monetary Penalty”

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Prior posts here and here highlighted several Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement actions in which a company received a reduction in the settlement amount based on a claimed inability to pay. In certain instances, it appears as if the DOJ / SEC were duped (see here for example).

Thus, yesterday’s release of this non-binding DOJ policy memo titled “Evaluating a Business Organization’s Inability to Pay a Criminal Fine or Criminal Monetary Penalty,” while not FCPA specific, is FCPA relevant.

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Former DOJ FCPA Unit Chief Duross On The “Sneaky Sh*t” Accounting Provisions And Other Things Heard On The Conference Circuit

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As highlighted in prior posts here, here and here, it is always interesting when former DOJ or SEC FCPA enforcement officials travel the conference circuit and make statements that undermine or contradict things they said while at the DOJ or SEC.

From approximately 2010 to 2014, Charles Duross was the Chief of the DOJ’s FCPA Unit. Currently a partner at Morrison & Foerster, Duross recently appeared on a panel at this ABA event.

At approximately the 14:40 mark of the video, Duross mentioned the FCPA’s accounting provisions and called them “sneaky sh*t” and said that “everybody talks about the bribery piece, if your client is publicly traded what you care about is that thing [the accounting provisions] because it is the books and records and internal controls and the truth is – and I hope nobody from the SEC is in the room – the SEC has long left the moorings of what the statute actually means. […] The SEC has interpreted that today to mean that if there is anything that has ever gone wrong in your business period, like you have not devised and maintained an effective accounting control, its ridiculous, but that is the current status I am just telling you the practical sh*t.” (Duross used the “sh*t” word several times during his presentation).

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DOJ Deputy Assistant Attorney General Miner On “The Two Primary Goals Of White Collar Criminal Enforcement” (With Commentary)

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It’s mid-September which means a few things: the days are getting shorter, the trees are beginning to show color, and DOJ and SEC enforcement officials are on the speaking circuit.

Earlier this week it was SEC Chairman Jay Clayton (see here for the prior post) and yesterday it was DOJ Deputy Assistant Attorney General Matthew Miner who spoke on the two primary goals of white collar criminal enforcement: “(1) to deter legally non-compliant behavior and punish it where it does occur; and (2) to encourage greater compliant behavior, including creating a more level playing field for those who play by the rules.”

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