On November 30, 2016, Attorney General Sally Q. Yates spoke at the Annual International Conference on Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. In her remarks, she clarified the goals of the Justice Department in holding individuals and corporations accountable for their actions.
During her address, she discussed the so-called Yates Memo of September 2015 and reiterated the fact that it was never the intention of the Justice Department to merely increase the number of prosecutions each year by some arbitrary percentage. Rather, Yates explained, “our goal was to develop and institutionalize mechanisms to ensure that, across the department, we consistently investigate and prosecute corporate cases as effectively as possible.” To this end, she outlined three areas of focus: 1) corporations will only receive credit for cooperating if they willingly provide information regarding the individuals who have made the decision to knowingly violate the law; 2) department lawyers will pursue civil penalties as well as criminal penalties against wrongdoers, whether or not these individuals have the means to pay penalties; and 3) the Justice Department is going to treat companies who voluntarily self-disclose differently from those companies who only begin cooperating once their wrongdoing has been discovered by the Justice Department.
She acknowledged that,until recently, companies have lacked incentive to self-disclose because of the perception, which Yates admitted was based somewhat in fact, that there was little to be gained by self-disclosing. Now, however, due to changes made last year to the Filip Factors, the question of whether self-disclosure occurred will make a key difference in how companies are treated.
Yates also announced the creation of a new website pertaining to these issues at https://www.justice.gov/dag/individual-accountability.
A full transcript of Yates’ remarks can be found here: https://www.justice.gov/opa/speech/deputy-attorney-general-sally-q-yates-delivers-remarks-33rd-annual-international
Suzanne DeCuir, Global Trade Expertise
December 16, 2016