LawFlash

DOJ Makes Major Move to Expand Leniency for Companies That Disclose Foreign Bribery

美国司法部采取重大举措以扩大对主动披露海外贿赂公司的宽大处理

November 29, 2017
中文

The department laid out a bold new policy providing “presumption” of non-prosecution for companies that self-report FCPA violations and meet other conditions.

Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein announced on Wednesday the rollout of a US Department of Justice (DOJ) policy that offers companies the ultimate incentive to self-report corruption and bribery and cooperate with government agency investigations: full protection from prosecution. The policy makes permanent and expands upon the Obama administration’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) Pilot Program, which began in April 2016 and offered reduced penalties for self-reporting.

The new program, called the FCPA Corporate Enforcement Policy, has been incorporated into the US Attorney’s Manual and takes effect immediately. The policy goes further than the Obama-era FCPA Pilot Program with a “presumption” that companies will not be prosecuted if they meet certain conditions. Under the pilot program, the DOJ was only required to “consider” declining to prosecute companies that met those conditions.

Rosenstein stated as justification for the policy that it “makes sense to treat corporations differently than individuals,” and that the DOJ should focus on prosecuting and holding accountable culpable individuals rather than simply imposing large fines on companies that ultimately penalize shareholders.

Rosenstein said that in order to fully avoid penalties, companies must voluntarily self-report the issue, cooperate fully with prosecutors, and identify and remediate the root causes and gaps in compliance controls that led to the problem. Companies must also help government investigators identify the individuals responsible for the misconduct, he said. According to the revised language in the US Attorney’s Manual, companies must still pay all disgorgement, forfeiture, and restitution resulting from the misconduct at issue in order to qualify for treatment under the FCPA Corporate Enforcement Policy. The manual also notes that this restitution requirement may be satisfied by a parallel resolution with a relevant regulator, such as the US Securities and Exchange Commission.

The presumption of declination may be overcome only if there are aggravating circumstances related to the nature of the offense, or if the company is a repeat offender. The US Attorney’s Manual lays out several examples of aggravating circumstances, including involvement by executive management in the misconduct, “significant profit” to the company from the misconduct, and pervasiveness of the misconduct within the company.

Even if aggravating circumstances compel an enforcement action, companies that satisfy the conditions will be eligible under the policy for a 50% reduction off the low end of the fine range in the Federal Sentencing Guidelines. Repeat offenders, however, may not be eligible for such credit.

Rosenstein said the new policy also provides details on how the DOJ will evaluate an appropriate compliance program, which will vary depending on the size and resources of a company. While language providing general guidance on implementation of an effective compliance and ethics program has been added to the FCPA section of the US Attorney’s Manual, this guidance is under a sub-section titled “Timely and Appropriate Remediation in FCPA Matters.” Thus, it is unclear at this point whether the DOJ, under the new policy, will consider a company’s preexisting compliance program (and gaps or deficiencies therein) or whether implementation of an effective program after the fact will be deemed sufficient.

Rosenstein emphasized that the new policy does not provide a guarantee for companies, and that the DOJ is unable to “eliminate all uncertainty” in prosecutorial discretion, but said that he believes the policy strikes a balance “in favor of greater clarity about our decision-making process.” 

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English

美国司法部(US Department of Justice, DOJ)制定了一项“大胆”的新政策。该政策“假定”对自我披露违反“反海外腐败法(Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, FCPA)”且满足其他条件的公司免于被诉。

美国司法部副部长罗森斯坦(Rod J. Rosenstein)于周三宣布推出了一项新政策。该政策为企业提供自我披露其腐败和贿赂的情况,并与政府机构调查合作提供了终极的激励机制,即免受起诉的全面保护。该政策将奥巴马政府于2016年4月开始实施的FCPA“试点计划(Pilot Program)”延长并使之得以常态化。在“试点计划”中,自我披露将可以获得减低处罚的待遇。

这项名为“FCPA企业执法政策(FCPA Corporate Enforcement Policy)”(“政策”)的新计划,已被纳入《美国检察官指南(US Attorney’s Manual)》(“指南”),并立即生效。该政策比奥巴马时代的FCPA“试点计划”更进一步,即“假定”公司只要符合某些条件就免于被诉。而在试点计划下,美国司法部只是被要求“考虑”拒绝起诉符合这些条件的公司。

罗森斯坦为该政策正名时声称的理由是“对公司与个人实行差别待遇是合理的”,美国司法部应该把执法重点放在起诉和追究负有责任的人身上,而不是仅仅放在对公司施加巨额罚款上,而这些罚款最终落到惩罚公司股东身上。

罗森斯坦称,为了完全避免处罚,企业必须自愿披露问题,与检察官充分合作,找出并纠正导致问题的合规监控方面的根源和差距。他指出,公司还必须帮助政府调查人员找出造成不当行为的责任人。根据“指南”中的修订条文,公司仍必须支付由所述不当行为而导致的所有民事不法获利(disgorgement)、犯罪所得(forfeiture)和刑事不法利益(restitution),以符合依据“政策”执法的条件。“指南”还指出,这种缴还要求可以通过相关监管机构(例如美国证券交易委员会)的并行方案来解决。

该假定仅在与犯罪性质有关的加重情节,或是公司屡次违规的情形下不成立。“指南”列举了几个加重情节的例子,包括行政管理人员参与不当行为,公司从不法行为中获得“重大利益”,以及公司内部普遍存在不当行为。
即使加重情节迫使执法行动被启动,在该“政策”下,满足条件的公司也能够适用“联邦量刑指南(Federal Sentencing Guidelines)”中最低减免50%罚款金额的条款。然而,屡次违规者可能没有资格获得该减免。

罗森斯坦称,“政策”还提供了有关美国司法部将如何评估适当合规计划的细则。这些细则将根据公司的规模和资源而有所不同。虽然“指南”中FCPA一节已纳入执行有效合规和道德计划的一般性指引条款,这些指引性条款隶属“FCPA事项相关的及时和适当补救”小节。因此,目前尚不清楚美国司法部在新政策下是否会考虑公司之前存在的合规计划(以及其中的差距或缺陷),或美国司法部是否会认为在事后实施有效的计划是一种充分的补救方式。

罗森斯坦强调,新政策并不能为公司提供担保,且美国司法部也不能在起诉裁量权中“消除一切不确定性”。但他认为,该政策取得了一种平衡,“有利于更清晰地了解我们的决策过程”。