Criminal Liability Risks for Compliance Officers: a Multi-Jurisdictional Perspective—Part I
Amid ever-increasing regulatory complexity and diversification, it's important to stay on top of the current criminal enforcement risks for companies and their compliance departments. Part I of this two-part series homes in on the U.S., France and the Netherlands.
By Ann Sultan, Shula de Jersey, Daniel Travers, Robin Lööf, Ariane Fleuriot, Ario Dehghani, Maarten ‘t Sas and Georgianna Verhage|July 14, 2020 at 11:11 AM
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In facing anti-bribery and anti-corruption (ABC) challenges, with new layers of ABC legislation being introduced globally, compliance teams—especially those working with international companies—are dealing with ever-increasing regulatory complexity and diversification. Intensifying enforcement focus on corporate wrongdoing in a growing number of jurisdictions means that compliance officers are facing increased levels of scrutiny from regulators and criminal enforcement authorities. In light of this new environment, as well as recent enforcement actions against senior compliance officers, part I of this article provides a brief overview of the state of play of the criminal enforcement risks for compliance officers as well as some of the implications—both practical and legal—for companies and their compliance departments in the U.S., France and the Netherlands. Part II will follow up with the UK, Germany and Ukraine, finishing off with takeaways based on the developments discussed in relation to all six jurisdictions.
U.S.: Continued Action Against Compliance Officers, Particularly in the Financial Sector
There have been no resolved Foreign Corrupt Practices Act-related enforcement actions against compliance officers to date, although the U.S. Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission, the enforcement agencies tasked with enforcing the FCPA, began official proceedings in February 2019 against Steven Schwartz, former executive vice president, chief legal and corporate affairs officer of Cognizant, who was “responsible for overseeing and managing Cognizant’s compliance functions.” Schwartz was indicted for bribery, books and records, and internal controls violations. Other enforcement agencies, such as the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, also known as FinCEN, have taken civil action against compliance officers in money laundering and other financial crimes-related cases as well.
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