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The Department of Justice Announces Expansion of Self-Disclosure-Based Leniency Principles to All Corporate Cases

National Law Review

In this article, Joseph Rillotta, along with his colleague at Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath, discusses the significance of the March 1, 2018 announcement that the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice (DOJ) will follow the principles set forth in the DOJ's Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) Corporate Enforcement Policy (the FCPA Enforcement Policy or Policy) in all corporate criminal cases handled by the Criminal Division. The authors write that the Policy divides companies into two categories: those that self-disclose misconduct and those that do not. The authors argue that before the announcement, "it was not clear to companies whether the substantial benefits that can accrue from self-disclosure under the FCPA Enforcement Policy – up to an including declination – were available outside of the FCPA context. Now, at least in cases involving the DOJ's Criminal Division, it appears that the principles of this Policy more broadly apply." Accordingly, companies must carefully examine their potential eligibility for a declination of prosecution or a fine reduction under the Policy's principles, and they must weigh the potential benefits of self-disclosure – regardless of their industry or the nature of the potential violation.