DOJ Increasing Its Global Presence: Caldwell

By Michael Greene

March 4 — The Justice Department is increasing its global presence and resources to combat international crime, Assistant Attorney General Leslie Caldwell said March 4.

“[T]he department has lawyers serving as eyes and ears on the ground across the world,” Caldwell, head of the DOJ's Criminal Division, said in a speech to the American Bar Association in San Diego. She said the department has stationed attachés in eight countries and has 60 resident legal advisers and 45 intermittent legal advisers around the globe.

She also noted that the department recently placed prosecutors with the Eurojurist in The Hague and Interpol in France, and increased the resources available to its Office of International Affairs.

Caldwell added that the DOJ has begun hiring 10 new prosecutors to its Foreign Corrupt Practices Act unit, which will eventually increase the unit by 50 percent .

“We hope to continue expanding our ability to help our overseas counterparts and our U.S. prosecutors,” she said.

Significant Resolution

As an example of the successful collaboration between the DOJ and foreign regulators, Caldwell cited VimpelCom Ltd.'s recent agreement to pay a near-record $795 million to settle claims that it bribed officials in Uzbekistan. The settlement, which resulted from investigations by U.S., Dutch, Swedish and Swiss authorities, “is one of the most significant FCPA resolutions in the history of the department,” she said.

In other remarks, Caldwell said the DOJ is trying to address corporate concerns raised over regulatory “piling on” so that companies aren't punished unfairly.

She agreed that when multiple regulatory authorities seek to prosecute companies or individuals for what essentially is the same conduct, it raises legitimate questions about fairness. She stressed that the DOJ is making strides in working with its counterparts to ensure that charging decisions are fair and sensible under the circumstances.

To contact the reporter on this story: Michael Greene in Washington at mgreene@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Yin Wilczek at ywilczek@bna.com