In House - The FindLaw Corporate Counsel Blog

DOJ Looks to Limit Corporate Penalties

The U.S. Justice Department is streamlining prosecutions to avoid doubling-up on corporations accused of misconduct, according to reports.

"Repeated punishment for the same conduct has the potential to undermine the spirit of fair play and the rule of law," said Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

If only individuals -- straddling charges from multiple agencies -- could get the same break. That would be news, too.

Corporate Benefits

President Trump has made good on campaign promises to corporations, easing taxes on business and loosening up on regulation. So far, the results seem to be good for the economy.

In remarks to a banking trade group, Rosenstein said the federal government also wants to "improve coordination" among agencies to "avoid duplicative and unwarranted" penalties on businesses. Multiple agencies pursuing a single company over the same issue can result in a "piling-on problem," he said.

Global banks have paid billions of dollars to settle charges stemming from a variety of offenses in recent years. Suspect mortgage foreclosures, disclosure violations, and index manipulations brought sanctions from varies agencies.

U.S. law enforcement, regulatory agencies and foreign governments have pursued the banks over the same underlying misconduct. Rosenstein said the Justice Department wants to "apportion penalties among both international and domestic agencies, where appropriate."

Individual Accountability

According to Reuters, Rosenstein previously said the justice department is also reviewing the prior administration's emphasis on requiring companies to cooperate in holding individuals accountable for misconduct.

The department is reviewing a number of policies related to white-collar crime, the news agency reported.

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