DOJ Beefing Up FCPA Unit With 10 New Prosecutors

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By Michael Greene

Nov. 17 — The Department of Justice is adding 10 new prosecutors to its Foreign Corrupt Practices Act unit, increasing the unit's size by 50 percent, Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell said Nov. 17.

Caldwell, head of the DOJ's Criminal Division, also noted that in the past year, the department added three new fully-operational squads to the FBI’s International Corruption Unit that are focusing on FCPA and kleptocracy matters.

“These new squads and prosecutors will make a substantial difference to our ability to bring high-impact cases and greatly enhance the department’s ability to root out significant economic corruption,” she said.

On the same day, Securities and Exchange Commission Enforcement Director Andrew Ceresney said that companies hoping to persuade prosecutors to recommend deferred- or non-prosecution treatment for FCPA violations must report their misconduct to the SEC.

Both officials spoke at an FCPA conference in National Harbor, Md.

Cooperation Credit

Caldwell urged companies to self-report their FCPA problems early to earn full cooperation credit. “By increasing the size of our FCPA force and by incentivizing early reporting and thorough compliance programs through increased transparency, we are making progress towards” the goal of preventing corruption before it can take hold, she said. “With the help of companies and their counsel, we can get there sooner.”

Caldwell's remarks come on the heels of the sentencing of Alstom SA. The French company Nov. 13 was sentenced to pay a $772 million fine for a worldwide bribery scheme, the largest criminal penalty ever under the FCPA.

The speech also comes after Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates Nov. 16 further clarified the department's new policy requiring federal investigators to produce charges against individuals during corporate prosecutions.


Caldwell added that the DOJ will continue to strive for more transparency in its FCPA charging decisions. “We recognize that information about the bases for our corporate guilty pleas and resolutions is an important reference point for companies that are evaluating whether to self-disclose a violation or cooperate,” she said.

Caldwell said that in each of its corporate resolutions, whether a guilty plea, a non-prosecution agreement or a deferred-prosecution agreement, the DOJ will aim to provide a detailed explanation of the key factors that led to its decision. This will include a “detailed recitation” of the misconduct and the company's cooperation, if any, as well as remedial measures, she said.

Failure to Disclose to SEC

Meanwhile, Ceresney said that in fiscal 2015 alone, the commission gave significant cooperation credit in more than half a dozen cases. “These cases should send the message loud and clear that the SEC will reward self-reporting and cooperation with significant benefits,” Ceresney stated.

Ceresney also noted that companies that decide not to self-report misconduct risk having the Enforcement Division learn of the wrongdoing through other means, such as through the agency's whistle-blower bounty program.

“If the Enforcement Division finds the violations through its own investigation or from a whistleblower, the consequences to the company will likely be worse and the opportunity to earn additional cooperation credit may well be lost,” the SEC official warned.

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Caldwell's remarks are available at

Ceresney's remarks are available at