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Volume XII, Number 225

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DOJ’s New Settlement Policy Demonstrates Increased Focus on Robust Compliance Programs

On Wednesday, Assistant Chief of DOJ Fraud Section’s Corporate Enforcement, Compliance, and Policy Unit, Lauren Kootman, confirmed the Department’s new policy of having chief compliance officers certify settlement agreements with the DOJ. These certifications will “most likely” be a part of every new agreement with the Department going forward.

Under this new policy, both CCOs and CEOs will be required to certify that a company’s compliance programs are “reasonably designed” to prevent future violations of the law. The first such certification was incorporated into the Department’s $1.1 billion settlement with mining giant Glencore in May, following its guilty plea to U.S. bribery and market manipulation charges.

Kootman defended the policy as not intended to subject CCOs to additional liability, but rather, to empower both CCOs and companies’ compliance programs with additional visibility and resources to ensure compliance. Kootman stressed that the inclusion of the CCO in important company decisions is key to a solid compliance program. She also pointed out additional measures companies can take to ensure robust compliance, including employee surveys and analysis of those surveys, tying compensation to compliance incentives, effective processes for reporting potential misconduct and tracking and investigating such reports.

This new policy demonstrates the Department’s increasing focus on companies’ compliance measures following civil and criminal settlements. Going forward, entities engaging in settlement negotiations with the DOJ should be prepared to include their CCOs in the negotiation process as their certification will likely be a pre-requisite to settlement.

© Polsinelli PC, Polsinelli LLP in CaliforniaNational Law Review, Volume XII, Number 178
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About this Author

Ellen H. Persons Government Investigations Attorney Polsinelli Atlanta, GA
Shareholder

As a former assistant U.S. attorney, Ellen Persons uses her experience to help clients navigate through the complexities of government investigations. Ellen is tenacious and meets challenges head on. She develops innovative, pragmatic, and cost-efficient solutions to her clients' litigation issues. 

Ellen focuses her practice on defending clients against allegations of fraud. She has experience defending companies and executives against qui tam litigation and associated government investigations. She also has experience with internal corporate investigations and corporate legal...

404.253.6048
Brea M. Croteau Government Investigations Attorney Polsinelli Atlanta, GA
Associate

Brea Croteau focuses her practice on internal investigations and white collar crime. She represents corporations and individuals in federal and state regulatory investigations and enforcement matters. Brea’s experience includes assisting clients in responding to government investigations based on alleged violations of civil and criminal laws, including the False Claims Act, and representing both plaintiffs and defendants in a wide variety of civil litigation matters including breach of contract, business torts, fraud and misrepresentation claims.

Prior to joining Polsinelli, Brea...

404-253-6062
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