U.S. Likely to Step Up White-Collar Crime Enforcement

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Former prosecutors at WSJ Risk & Compliance Forum discuss white-collar enforcement challenges facing companies

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Despite the drop in enforcement actions, companies should anticipate more FCPA cases given how the Biden administration has made pursuing white-collar crime a priority, said Joshua Drew, a former federal prosecutor who now is a special counsel at the law firm Miller & Chevalier.

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“There have been fewer numbers of enforcement actions,” he said, noting a change in administration typically brings a pause to ongoing investigations and the pandemic has created challenges for probes. “I definitely would not read too much into that in terms of commitment to vigorous enforcement, or whether…more cases are coming. I expect they are.”

The White House’s focus on white-collar crime is alive and well in other areas as well, lawyers speaking at the WSJ Risk & Compliance Forum said, pointing to the Justice Department’s focus on sanctions as an example.

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Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco last month said sanctions evasion and export control violations are a priority for the Justice Department after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, noting that “One way to think about this is as sanctions being the new FCPA.”

Ms. Monaco’s comments signaled that companies should think of sanctions in the same way as FCPA actions and that there could be an increase in sanctions-related enforcement, Mr. Drew said.

“She seemed to be trying to raise awareness, make the point that sanctions, if in the past they were perceived as a niche area, that they are not any longer,” he said.

Ms. Monaco’s comments were a warning to executives and companies that sanctions have become an enforcement priority for criminal prosecutors, said Michael Parker, counsel at Ferrari & Associates PC and a former federal prosecutor.

Amid shifting white-collar enforcement priorities and the potential for policy changes around corporate recidivism and compliance program certification, keeping up with sanctions stemming from the war in Ukraine is proving daunting, Mr. Parker noted.

“The biggest pain points over the last few months have really just been the speed and the ferocity with which new sanctions programs have been issued,” he said. “In a large part, this has been running a marathon at sprint pace.”

Write to Jennifer Williams-Alvarez at [email protected]

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Credit: www.wsj.com /

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