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Financial Services Law Insights and Observations

Deputy Attorney General Yates Expands on DOJ's White-Collar Prosecution Policy

DOJ Enforcement Financial Crimes

Financial Crimes

On November 16, the DOJ’s Deputy AG Sally Yates delivered remarks at the American Bankers Association and American Bar Association Money Laundering Enforcement Conference. Yates focused her remarks on recent revisions – originally outlined in a September 9 policy memorandum – to the United States Attorney’s Manual (USAM), as follows: (i) updating the corporate criminal cases section, specifically the “Principles of Federal Prosecution of Business Organizations” chapter, or the “Filip factors”; (ii) implementing an entirely new section to the civil cases chapter on enforcing claims against individuals in corporate matters; and (iii) updating its policy on parallel proceedings. First, the DOJ updated the Filip factors and the written guidance accompanying the factors to emphasize individual accountability in corporate cases and company cooperation in the DOJ’s investigation of individual wrongdoing. Yates highlighted the following policy change: “In the past, cooperation credit was a sliding scale of sorts and companies could still receive at least some credit for cooperation, even if they failed to fully disclose all facts about individuals. That’s changed now… providing complete information about individuals’ involvement in wrongdoing is a threshold hurdle that must be crossed before [the DOJ will] consider any cooperation credit.” Yates further noted that the new policy does not change the meaning of attorney-client privilege, but requires companies to turn over all relevant non-privileged information with the expectation that the companies respect the boundaries of attorney-client privilege. The USAM’s new chapter on civil cases mimics the individual accountability policies outlined in the Filip factors revisions, with the DOJ instructing its civil attorneys to abide by the same principles that guide criminal prosecutors’ efforts. Finally, revisions to the USAM’s parallel proceedings policy stress the importance of routine communication between criminal prosecutors and civil attorneys handling white collar matters to ensure a “resolution for both the individual and the corporation that is in the best interest of the public.”