In prepared remarks delivered April 24 at the Ethics and Compliance Initiative Annual Conference, Attorney General Jeff Sessions discussed the DOJ’s anticipated approach to prosecuting corporate fraud and misconduct under his leadership. The Attorney General announced the DOJ’s commitment to “re-double” its efforts to combat violent crime, while continuing to investigate and prosecute “corporate fraud and misconduct.” Specifically, Mr. Sessions pledged that the DOJ will “continue to emphasize the importance of holding individuals accountable for corporate misconduct” and when making charging decisions, will account for “whether companies have good compliance programs; whether they cooperate and self-disclose their wrongdoing; and whether they take suitable steps to remediate problems.”

Notable among the many points made by Mr. Sessions during his speech, was his emphasis on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”). As explained by Mr. Sessions, “corruption harms free competition, distorts prices, and often leads to substandard products and services coming into this country” and, ultimately, “increases the cost of doing business, and hurts honest companies that don’t pay these bribes.” To this end, the Attorney General promised to “strongly enforce the FCPA and other anti-corruption laws.” As he put it, “[c]ompanies should succeed because they provide superior products and services, not because they have paid off the right people.” In closing, the Attorney General took a moment to remind the audience that “[o]ur economy, and indeed, our whole system of self-government, depends on people believing that those who choose to disregard the law will be caught and punished. This is ultimately the responsibility of the Justice Department.”