Compliance & Regulation » DOJ Emphasizes Voluntary Self-Disclosure in FCPA Enforcement

DOJ Emphasizes Voluntary Self-Disclosure in FCPA Enforcement

DOJ Emphasizes Voluntary Self-Disclosure in FCPA Enforcement

March 12, 2024

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has been actively promoting voluntary self-disclosure in corporate enforcement cases, particularly within the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) domain, according to an All Things Compliance article. Recent policy changes and enforcement actions, such as the 2022 ABB FCPA settlement, the 2023 Albemarle resolution, and the 2024 SAP settlement, highlight the DOJ’s emphasis on self-disclosure as a key criterion for evaluating fines under the FCPA.

The DOJ’s Corporate Enforcement Policy offers substantial penalty reduction—up to 75%—for voluntary disclosure, even in cases involving aggravating factors like C-Suite involvement in corruption. The DOJ’s focus on incentivizing self-disclosure aligns with a broader trend of rewarding companies that proactively address compliance issues.

Recidivism is a crucial factor in DOJ enforcement actions. The DOJ has made it clear, through speeches and policy documents like the 2023 Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs, that repeat offenders will face harsh penalties unless they self-disclose and cooperate. Despite the benefits of self-disclosure, companies face challenges in balancing various factors such as cooperation and remediation.

The timeliness of self-disclosure is critical, as evidenced by cases like Cognizant Technologies, where prompt disclosure led to a complete declination of charges. However, companies must carefully consider the risks and rewards of self-disclosure against potential consequences.

Ultimately, aligning compliance programs with the DOJ’s expectations and demonstrating a commitment to ethical business practices can help companies mitigate the risks associated with FCPA violations and ensure long-term success.

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