Is this truly something new or, rather, a simple explanation point added to subject matter that has already been well articulated?
That depends on who you ask.
Recent guidance from the U.S. Department of Justice stresses that officials investigating alleged instances of corporate wrongdoing will henceforth ratchet up their scrutiny on senior executives.
That select group has often been pointed to by law enforcers as being essentially immune from prosecution in white collar crime probes in the commercial realm. Many critics have complained that, while companies in a generic sense are held culpable for wrongdoing, their top-tier employees routinely escape liability.
DOJ Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein says that any perceived escape hatch for upper-level executives is now closed. He states that pursuing such individuals in cases of company malfeasance “will be a top priority in every corporate investigation.”
The agency recently announced a series of policy changes it states will materially change the blueprint for how targeted companies must internally investigate and respond to government white collar probes. Those that cooperate by developing evidence against senior wrongdoers can reasonably expect to win leniency in criminal matters. Those that don’t can anticipate a prosecutorial hammering.
Some commentators state that Rosenstein’s recent statements spotlighting executive accountability are really much ado about nothing. One of them says that going after company executives has already been a top DOJ priority for some time, “so other than in tone and emphasis, that aspect of the revised policy really doesn’t break new ground.”
One thing the recent pronouncements definitely do promote is companies’ certainty that the DOJ expects management cooperation via internal evidence compilation and submission in criminal probes. Questions or concerns regarding that duty might reasonably be directed to a legal team of proven white collar criminal defense attorneys.