The US DOJ recently announced a new policy that formalizes its focus on targeting culpable individuals, not just corporate entities, in investigations. The DOJ memo, entitled "Individual Accountability for Corporate Wrongdoing," has six key directives to DOJ attorneys, which are also important to know for anyone who deals with the feds, civil or criminal:
- Civil and criminal corporate investigations should focus on individuals from the inception of the investigation;
- Civil DOJ attorneys should consistently focus on individuals as well as the company and evaluate whether to bring suit against an individual based on considerations beyond that individual's ability to pay;
- Criminal and civil DOJ attorneys handling corporate investigations should be in routine communication with one another;
- In order to qualify for any cooperation credit, corporations must provide to the DOJ all relevant facts relating to the individuals responsible for the misconduct;
- DOJ attorneys should not resolve matters with a corporation without a clear plan to resolve related individual cases, and should memorialize any declinations as to individuals in such cases; and
- Absent extraordinary circumstances or approved departmental policy, the DOJ will not release culpable individuals from civil or criminal liability when resolving a matter with a corporation.