Musings on ‘Aggravating Circumstances’ 


Today I want to return to the Justice Department’s new policies meant to encourage more self-disclosure of corporate misconduct, even from companies whose violations include aggravating circumstances. Those policies are a welcome step forward, but they create just as many questions for compliance officers as they answer. Let’s first review what these new policies are.…

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Danske Bank CCO to Depart in 2024


The chief compliance officer at Danske Bank has announced that he will be leaving the bank in 2024, raising a delicate but important question. Who’s going to certify the effectiveness of Danske Bank’s compliance program to the Justice Department when the bank is scheduled to do that in 2025? Satnam Lehal, Danske Bank’s chief compliance…

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New Sweeteners for Disclosure, Cooperation


The U.S. Justice Department is amending its Corporate Enforcement Policy, offering more incentives for companies to self-disclose misconduct even if their cases involve aggravating factors that might tempt those companies to keep quiet. Companies in that predicament might still be able to secure a declination to prosecute from the Justice Department if they (1) self-disclose…

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Analyzing ABB’s Third-Time FCPA Case


Swiss industrial giant ABB settled its third FCPA case on Friday, in an enforcement action that generally offers good news for compliance officers but still upends the assumptions we’ve made lately about recidivist offenders and the punishments they’ll face. ABB agreed to pay $460 million in civil and criminal penalties and accepted a three-year deferred…

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More Major Justice Dept. News


Corporate compliance officers, drop everything. We have a second speech from the Justice Department about corporate misconduct and compliance programs that needs your immediate attention.  Assistant attorney general Kenneth Polite gave the speech in Texas on Friday. It follows the speech that his boss, deputy attorney general Lisa Monaco, gave one day earlier in New…

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DOJ Pushes Enforcement Reforms


Here we go, compliance officers! The Justice Department has unveiled a sweeping new set of practices for enforcement against corporate misconduct, with an emphasis on taking a stern approach to repeat offenders and giving more rewards to companies that truly embrace a culture of compliance. Deputy attorney general Lisa Monaco announced the enforcement shifts in…

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‘Reasonably Designed’ Programs, Part II


Our post last week about the lack of clear standards for a “reasonably designed” compliance program drew lots of comment from compliance professionals — enough that the issue deserves continued exploration, since there’s plenty more to say on the subject.  First let’s consider a concrete example of the confusion that could arise here.  Imagine your…

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‘Reasonable Design’ and CCO Certifications


Today I want to revisit the Justice Department’s plans to have chief compliance officers certify the effectiveness of their compliance programs, to unpack a question that’s been bothering me. When the department says it wants certification that your program is reasonably designed to prevent future violations, what does “reasonable” actually mean?  Readers of Radical Compliance…

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Some Polite Words on Testing


Gather round, corporate compliance professionals. We have another speech from a high-ranking Justice Department official about how compliance programs should work, and as usual these days, the speech is full of clues that are well worth your time and attention. The speech came from Kenneth Polite, assistant attorney general for the Criminal Division, who spoke…

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Updates on Antitrust Leniency Program


Useful news for anyone working at a company involved in an illegal cartel or other vast criminal conspiracy: the Justice Department’s Antitrust Division has updated its leniency policy for corporate offenders, with new emphasis on prompt self-disclosure of the violations and remediation to prevent repeat offenses. The Antitrust Division has long allowed the first individual…

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