The Justice Department plans to publicize more anti-bribery settlements under the department’s relatively new leniency policy to showcase how companies can successfully forgo criminal prosecution, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said May 21.
“We intend to announce when there are results that a company has done the right thing, and you will continue to see examples like that in the future,” Rosenstein said during the Compliance Week conference in Washington.
Rosenstein’s remarks seek to bolster the benefits of the department’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act corporate enforcement policy, which became a permanent fixture in November. Under the policy, companies that self report bribery violations can receive partial or complete leniency and other benefits, such as discounted fines. But the policy’s success hinges on how many companies self-disclose bribery violations. Rosenstein hopes that in detailing more DOJ resolutions, more companies will come forward.
The policy “is providing reassurances to companies” Rosenstein said. But persuading more companies to come forward will take time, he noted.
Only one company, Dun & Bradstreet Co., has been successful under the DOJ’s permanent policy. The business research company avoided criminal prosecution after self-disclosing bribery violations, which arose from bribes paid by employees in its Chinese subsidiaries to third party agents from 2006 to 2012 in order to obtain non-public information, according to the Securities and Exchange Commission administrative settlement.
Rosenstein pointed to the Dun & Bradstreet case during his remarks signaling the resolution as a model example. The DOJ didn’t press charges because Dun & Bradstreet cooperated with investigators. However, the company still must pay a $9.2 million dollar fine to the SEC for accounting irregularities stemming from the same violations. Under the settlement terms, the company doesn’t admit or deny the findings.
Self reporting under the policy doesn’t guarantee that the DOJ will forgo prosecution, but the policy guidelines for how companies should cooperate with officials during FCPA investigations explains what they should do to maximize their benefit, Rosenstein said.
“Our position is that if you want to be treated as a victim, then act like a victim,” he said. “A company that is a victim will want to actively cooperate.”