Chen brings important industry experience to the role.
The Department of Justice (DOJ) Fraud Section has retained Hui Chen as a “full-time compliance expert.” Ms. Chen comes to the position with compliance counseling experience in the technology, banking, and pharmaceutical sectors. She served as Microsoft Corporation’s director of legal compliance for the Greater China area. She also served as assistant general counsel at Pfizer Inc. in its compliance division, where she conducted compliance investigations that focused on the company’s operations in Europe, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. Most recently, Ms. Chen served as the global head for anti-bribery and corruption at Standard Chartered Bank. Ms. Chen also has prosecutorial experience. From 1991–1994, she served as a trial attorney in the DOJ’s criminal division as part of the Attorney General’s Honors Program, after which she served as an Assistant US Attorney at the US Attorney’s Office in the Eastern District of New York.
In a speech on November 2 regarding Ms. Chen’s position, Assistant Attorney General (AAG) Leslie Caldwell noted that “many banks and financial institutions operate all over the world” and highlighted that DOJ hired a compliance counsel “who has the experience and expertise to examine a compliance program on a more global and a more granular level.” AAG Caldwell also set forth the compliance counsel’s duties, which will include assessing the compliance programs of companies under investigation and testing “whether the compliance program truly is thoughtfully designed and sufficiently resourced to address the company’s compliance risks, or essentially window dressing.” Ms. Chen will also “help guide Fraud Section prosecutors when they are seeking remedial compliance measures as part of a resolution with a company.” According to AAG Caldwell, DOJ seeks to ensure that “appropriate compliance enhancements are included when they are needed” while avoiding imposing “unrealistic, unnecessary or unduly burdensome requirements on companies.”
AAG Caldwell highlighted that DOJ’s retention of a compliance counsel was not an “indication that the department is moving toward recognizing or instituting a ‘compliance defense,’” but would instead continue to review companies’ compliance programs “as one of the many factors to be considered when deciding whether to criminally charge a company or how to resolve criminal charges.” According to AAG Caldwell, DOJ’s “hiring of a compliance counsel should be an indication to companies about just how seriously we take compliance.”