On 22 February 2023, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced a new voluntary self-disclosure policy for corporate criminal enforcement in all United States Attorneys’ Offices (USAOs) around the country.
USAOs are often the front-line of DOJs enforcement efforts, prosecuting federal criminal cases in each of the 94 federal judicial districts across the country. This includes the prosecution of many criminal violations of US sanctions and export controls.
Even when these cases are brought by one of the DOJ’s central divisions or units in Washington DC (such as the National Security Division), or initially investigated by a regulatory agency (like OFAC or BIS) criminal cases are most commonly charged in judicial district where the individual or corporate defendant is domiciled, or in the district where the relevant criminal conduct occurred. For that reason, USAO prosecutors are almost always involved in the prosecution and resolution of these cases together with their counterparts in Washington, especially when cases go to trial in federal district court.
The new USAO policy represents an effort to promote consistent treatment of corporate criminal defendants across all USAOs and an attempt to incentivize more self-reporting. The goal of the new policy is to “provid[e] transparency and predictability to companies and the defense bar” in an effort to “standardize how [voluntary self-disclosures] are defined and credited by USAOs nationwide.” In doing so, the USAO policy looks to provide a similar amount of certainty, and incentives, for voluntary disclosure to companies making disclosures of criminal matters (including sanctions and export controls) to their local USAO, as they would have if they disclosed to another component of DOJ in Washington.
For more detail on the new USAO Policy see: United States Attorneys’ Offices implement new voluntary self-disclosure policy – Baker McKenzie InsightPlus