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The V&E Report
Insights in Government Enforcement and Investigations

U.K.’s SFO Recognizes Expectation that Compliance Functions Will be Insulated from Routine Cost Cutting Pressures

Sarah Lawson, the General Counsel of the U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office (“SFO”), recently emphasized that corporate compliance functions must be well resourced and that the SFO expects such programs should be insulated from routine cost-cutting pressures. This expectation parallels the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”)’s long-standing focus on corporate compliance programs and its own recent focus on ensuring that compliance functions are provided with sufficient resources.

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Updated DOJ Guidance Provides Useful Roadmap for Implementing and Enhancing Corporate Compliance Programs

On Tuesday, the U.S. Department of Justice released perhaps the most comprehensive guidance to date on how prosecutors evaluate the design, implementation, and effectiveness of corporate compliance programs in making charging decisions, framing sentencing recommendations, and determining whether on-going corporate compliance obligations, such as the imposition of a monitor, may be necessary as part of any enforcement resolution. In announcing the release of the Criminal Division’s Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs guidance document (“Guidance”), DOJ Criminal Division, Assistant Attorney General Brian A. Benczkowski explained that the updated guidance is intended to align the Fraud Section’s 2017 guidance with other Department instructions and legal standards, and to provide greater transparency into prosecutors’ assessments.

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DOJ Announces First Criminal Charges Against a Distributor in the Fight Against Opioids

Last week, the U.S. Department of Justice took an important step in the fight against opioid abuse, announcing the first criminal charges against a pharmaceutical distribution company for its part in perpetuating the opioid crisis by ignoring red flags of abuse. Charges were brought against Rochester Drug Co-Operative (“RDC”), one of the ten largest pharmaceutical distributors, and two of its executives.

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“Company, Monitor Thyself”: DOJ Announces New Policy on the Use of Corporate Monitors

New guidance from the Department of Justice (“DOJ” or “the Department”) clarifying the factors DOJ will consider when deciding whether to impose a corporate monitor may further reduce the imposition of corporate monitors in DOJ settlements, limit the scope of monitorships if imposed, and also serve to provide helpful guidance to companies about compliance measures that may help to avoid the imposition of a corporate monitor in the future.

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