In response to criticism that the Department of Justice had failed to bring criminal prosecutions arising out of the financial crisis of 2008 and high-profile corporate criminal settlements in which the companies admitted to misconduct, then-Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. and other officials gave speeches last year emphasizing that the department would take an aggressive approach toward prosecuting individuals in white-collar cases.

On Sept. 9, DOJ issued a memorandum by Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates — now being called “the Yates Memorandum” — detailing how officials expect prosecutors to hold individuals accountable for criminal wrongdoing. In particular, the memo emphasizes that corporations will be eligible for “cooperation credit” only if they identify culpable individuals and provide all relevant factual information about their misconduct. It states that corporate cases should not be resolved without a clear plan to resolve related individual cases.

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