Sanctions Turn Into New Priority for Justice Department

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Department’s white-collar enforcement efforts increasingly have a national-security focus after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, says Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco

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“The way that multinational companies have to think about how these sanctions regimes are going to be affecting their businesses is critically important, and something we should be having conversations about,” Ms. Monaco said.

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Bribery has long been the primary focus of federal prosecutors’ corporate investigations. Prosecutors have used the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibits payments by companies to foreign officials, to target large corporations and impose billions of dollars in fines.

The Justice Department’s white-collar enforcement efforts increasingly have a national-security focus, Ms. Monaco said Wednesday. “One way to think about this is as sanctions being the new FCPA,” she said to a room of white-collar defense lawyers.

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Financial institutions are often the first entities to be held responsible for sanctions violations, particularly in situations where they process payments by individuals or companies that violate national security prohibitions. But companies also need to be aware of the rules, including by applying know-your-customer processes to their supply chains, Ms. Monaco said.

The Biden administration last year said it was making rooting out corruption a central pillar of its national-security agenda, issuing a directive it said would increase collaboration between government agencies on issues such as kleptocracy and illicit finance.

In the wake of the invasion of Ukraine in February, the Justice Department launched an interagency task force dedicated to enforcing sanctions and export-control measures implemented against Russia in response to its military action.

Andrew Adams, co-chief of the Justice Department’s KleptoCapture task force, said the new team would draw on existing department resources to prosecute individuals and companies evading sanctions and to seize assets linked to corrupt Russian oligarchs.

“The task force is investigating entrenched, well-funded organized crime,” said Mr. Adams, who spoke at a separate session at the same event Wednesday.

Write to Dylan Tokar at [email protected]

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Credit: www.wsj.com /

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