Deputy AG Hints at Change in Corporate Prosecutions

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The federal government’s policy on prosecuting corporate crime is under review and changes are likely, reports Politico. “It’s under review, and I anticipate that there may be some change to the policy on corporate prosecutions,” Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said Thursday following a speech at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, D.C. “I don’t have any announcement about that today, but I do anticipate that we may in the near future make an announcement about what changes we’re going to make to corporate fraud principles.” The department’s current policy, dating to September 2015, aimed to increase prosecutions of individuals responsible for criminal acts committed during work for corporations. This was seen in part as a reaction to criticism of the anemic number of prosecutions of individuals on Wall Street or at big banks for crimes related to the economic meltdown in 2008.

Rosenstein said he favors prosecutions of individuals in appropriate cases. “Corporations, of course, don’t go to prison. They do pay a fine,” Rosenstein said. “The issue is can you effectively deter corporate crime by prosecuting corporations or do you in some circumstances need to prosecute individuals. I think you do.” He described the review as a “really pretty routine” part the presidential administration change. Attorney General Jeff Sessions suggested in an April speech that the Justice Department might re-examine the balance between individual and corporate responsibility for misconduct. However, he stopped short of announcing a formal review.

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