DOJ Issues New Compliance Program Evaluation Guidance

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This article appears in full on Baker & McKenzie's Insight blog written by Crystal Roberts Jezierski and John P. Cunningham both partners at the firm.


Earlier this month, the Fraud Section of the US Department of Justice (DOJ) published its Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs (Evaluation Guidance). Although issued without fanfare, the Evaluation Guidance represents the latest in a series of important communications by the Fraud Section outlining the DOJ’s expectations for effective corporate compliance programs. The document includes 11 key compliance program evaluation topics, with a corresponding set of “common questions” that the DOJ considers relevant in assessing compliance programs within the context of a criminal investigation.

As the Evaluation Guidance acknowledges, many of the topics it covers are not novel and have been expressed previously in policy statements made by the US Government and other sources. Importantly, however, it is the most recent public statement by the Fraud Section demonstrating the increased sophistication of the DOJ’s compliance expertise, which commenced with the hiring of Ms. Hui Chen as dedicated compliance counsel in late 2015 and has since been dubbed the “Compliance Initiative.”

While the Evaluation Guidance does not necessarily break new ground, it advances the DOJ’s oft-stated commitment to periodically delivering meaningful guidelines for companies with respect to its expectations for effective compliance programs. With its emphasis on specific topics and explicit program assessment questions, the Evaluation Guidance expands upon the valuable compliance program information contained in both Step 3 of the FCPA Pilot Program and the section entitled “Hallmarks of Effective Compliance Programs” in A Resource Guide to the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. To date, it represents the most universally applicable and clearly articulated statement of the Fraud Section’s primary focus areas when determining the efficacy of corporate compliance programs. (click here to read the full article)


Read More: A review of the topics covered in this guidance – along with sample questions related to each topic derived from the guidance by Carrie Penman, Chief Compliance Officer and Senior Vice President, Advisory Services


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