The Changing Compliance Environment: What it Means for You

Major developments over the last several months signal closer scrutiny and more accountability for compliance lapses.

Posted by Dawn Lomer in Corruption, Ethics, Ethics & Compliance, Fraud on November 24th, 2015

The compliance world was shaken late this year by three major events.


#1: The Yates Memo

Firstly, in September DOJ Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates issued a memo – known as the Yates memo – in which she articulated the DOJ’s commitment to seek accountability from individuals who perpetrate wrongdoing.

Until now, there have been few DOJ corporate enforcement actions that actually resulted in any charges against individual company employees, despite the fact that the DOJ has long considered this to be fair game.

The Yates memo says that in order for a company to be eligible for cooperation credit, it must provide details about every individual involved in corporate misconduct.

It also stipulates, among other things, that investigations focus on individuals from the start and that civil and criminal attorneys working on a case must communicate with one another.


#2: DOJ’s Compliance Counsel

Next, the DOJ’s announcement that it was hiring its own compliance counsel signaled a new level of scrutiny for companies’ compliance programs.

The focus on best practices in compliance programs and bringing about enforcement actions, especially for FCPA violations, should have companies looking closely at their programs and practices.


#3: VW Emissions Scandal

The third event that will “drive compliance into the stratosphere” according to FCPA expert Tom Fox, is the Volkswagen emissions scandal.

While it was not necessarily a failure of compliance, the discovery of this deception points to an intentional fraud on the part of Volkswagen.

Most interesting, according to Fox, is the response from the government of Germany.

With Volkswagen being the largest auto manufacturer in the country and the national reputation of quality and honesty, this scandal has not only damaged the company, but also the German brand.

It brings up questions about how companies can protect themselves from the actions of competitors, when those actions affect the reputation of an entire industry.

These are all interesting developments and worthy of consideration when looking at the compliance landscape going forward.

See what Tom Fox has to say about these issues and their fallout:


If you’re interested in learning more about what the latest developments mean for compliance going forward, click here to watch the webinar recording.

Dawn Lomer
Dawn Lomer

Managing Editor

Dawn Lomer is the managing editor at i-Sight Software and a Certified Fraud Examiner (CFE). She writes about topics related to workplace investigations, ethics and compliance, data security and e-discovery, and hosts i-Sight webinars.

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