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Justice Department Will Focus on Prosecuting Individuals in Corporate Cases 

Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates said in a speech that the Justice Department has revised its Manual to focus on the prosecution of individuals in corporate cases.  The revisions require companies that want credit for cooperating to provide “all non-privileged information about individual wrongdoing.”  The DoJ also amended the Manual to apply the same standards to its civil cases.  The rationale for these changes is to “emphasize the primacy in any corporate case of holding individual wrongdoers accountable.”  Ms. Yates sought to explain and expand upon the DoJ’s new policy “designed to ensure that individual accountability is at the heart of our corporate enforcement strategy” that was announced in September.  Ms. Yates also recognized compliance officers as a “crucial partner” to combat corporate misconduct and cited the importance of “rigorous internal controls” that help companies “self-assess and self-correct.”

OUR TAKE: It’s not just the SEC that has increased focus on prosecuting individuals.  The DoJ, which prosecutes corporate criminal cases, also seeks cases against individual corporate actors.  Also, robust compliance programs help avoid career-ending (and potentially freedom-ending) actions against corporate officers.