Corporate Criminal Liability, Moral Culpability, and the Yates Memo

This article examines the Department of Justice's Principles of Federal Prosecution of Business Organizations (contained in the USAM) and considers the concept of "moral culpability" within them. The article goes on to propose revising the Principles of Prosecution to better focus on questions of "corporate moral culpability" as a means of more accurately assessing corporate criminal liability. In doing so, the article proposes not only changes to the Principles of Prosecution, but changes to the common law respondeat superior test for corporate liability. Finally, the article considering the impact of the Yates Memo on corporate charging decisions and the Principles of Prosecution.

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Individual Accountability for Corporate Crimes after the Yates Memo: Deferred Prosecution Agreements & Criminal Justice Reform

In response to the criticism regarding lack of accountability for individual corporate wrongdoers, Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillan Yates of the Department of Justice issued a memo on September 9, 2015, outlining new guidelines for individual accountability. These guidelines have since been incorporated into the United States Attorney's Manual. Even so, the Department of Justice has entered into several deferred prosecution agreements since the issuance of the Yates Memo where no individual wrongdoers were charged, raising concerns about adherence to the new policy. Several months before the release of the Memo, Judge Richard Leon of the District Court for the District of Columbia refused to approve a deferred prosecution agreement because he found the agreement to be overly lenient for the corporate crime at issue.

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What's new about the DOJ's new FCPA corporate enforcement policy?

FCPA practitioners welcomed Rod Rosenstein’s announcement that the Department of Justice has made the FCPA Pilot Program permanent, and incorporated it into the U.S. Attorneys’ Manual. The audience “noticeably lightened up” at the Deputy AG’s news. Now that we’ve had an opportunity to digest the newly-styled FCPA Corporate Enforcement Policy, let’s examine some of the key differences from the original 2016 FCPA Pilot Program. 

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DOJ maakt Pilot Program permanent

The DOJ will convert the Pilot Program to a permanent guideline to encourage companies to self-report possible violations of the FCPA in return for leniency. The DOJ launched the one-year Pilot Program in April 2016 and extended it on a temporary basis this year.

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De vervolging van individuen in corruptiezaken & schikkingen

In schikkingszaken die het OM treft met een onderneming vanwege buitenlandse corruptie, zoals recentelijk de schikking met telecombedrijf Telia, lijken natuurlijke personen en individuen van het bedrijf de dans te ontspringen. Tot op heden blijven leidinggevenden of verantwoordelijke werknemers vaak buiten schot voor hun rol in gepleegde strafbare feiten omdat zij zich verschuilen achter de organisatie of onderneming waar zij werkzaam zijn. Zoals te lezen is in de working paper Corruptiebestrijding in Nederland 2.0 van Transparency International Nederland, is de aanpak van individuen zo belangrijk omdat iemand minder makkelijk voor de bewuste corrupte of corrumperende handeling kiest wanneer er een reële kans bestaat op individuele vervolging.

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