For over a decade, DOJ officials have tried to motivate business organizations to voluntarily disclose Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations.
In what should be seen as an acknowledgement that such long-standing efforts have not been as successful as the DOJ might hope, in a press conference this morning, Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell and DOJ Fraud Section Chief Andrew Weissmann announced a new one-year Foreign Corrupt Practices Act “pilot program.”
According to the DOJ officials, the purpose of the “pilot program” is provide guidance to DOJ FCPA prosecutors about resolutions in corporate FCPA cases and to motivate companies to self-disclose and fully cooperate with the DOJ’s fraud section in FCPA enforcement actions.
Prior to summarizing the press conference (which I attended via telephone) let me offer my own two cents.
“To knowledgeable observers, there is little that is new in today’s DOJ announcement of a “pilot program”. Just by holding a press conference and ascribing a new label to something, does not make something new. The objectives of the DOJ are laudable, however if the DOJ best wants to accomplish its objectives, this new “pilot program” is not the best answer. Rather, as current Fraud Section Chief Andrew Weissmann (and several other former high-ranking DOJ officials) have recognized, an FCPA compliance defense is the best incentive to get companies to voluntary disclose FCPA violations by employees or agents within its organization. For additional information on how such an approach can best position the DOJ to better achieve its policy objectives, see prior posts here and here.”