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Much has been written over the last sixteen months interpreting the shift in U.S. Justice Department policy placing greater emphasis on individual accountability for corporate wrongdoing in federal civil and criminal enforcement proceedings. Apparently not all of it was accurate. In what has become known as the “Yates Memo” issued on September 9, 2015, U.S. Deputy Attorney General Sally Quillian Yates outlined six steps to strengthen the Department’s pursuit of individual wrongdoing in corporate investigations:
1. In order to qualify for any cooperation credit, corporations must provide to the Department all relevant facts relating to the individuals responsible for the misconduct;
2. Criminal and civil corporate investigations should focus on individuals from the inception of the investigation;
3. Criminal and civil attorneys handling corporate investigations should be in routine communication with one another;
4. Absent extraordinary circumstances or approved departmental policy, the Department will not release culpable individuals from civil or criminal liability when resolving a matter with a corporation;
5. Department 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
6. Civil 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.