On November 29, 2022, AmCham Germany and Covington & Burling LLP held an Expert Webinar on "Compliance Trends and U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) as well as Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) Expectations."
The webinar began with remarks by Lanny Breuer, former Assistant Attorney General for the DOJ Criminal Division and current partner in Covington’s Washington office and was followed by a discussion with Mr. Breuer and senior attorneys from Covington & Burlington LLP. This included Robert Henrici, partner from the Covington Frankfurt office, Jennifer Saperstein, partner from the Covington Washington office, Mark Finucane, partner from the Covington London office, and Noam Kutler, special counsel from the Covington Washington office.
Lanny Breuer began the webinar with some initial thoughts to better understand these new policy initiatives, what they mean for corporate compliance programs, and how they may impact companies in the U.S., Germany, and across Europe. Mr. Breuer highlighted the new changes and policy announcements, most recently with the DOJ issued memorandum, called in the webinar the Monaco Memo, announcing policies intended to encourage the voluntary disclosure of misconduct and the continued improvement of corporate compliance programs regarding white collar crime. This includes reporting hot documents to prosecutors upon discovery and a focus on encouraging and incentivizing disclosure and compliance. One area of cooperation of interest to companies located in Europe would be focused on documentation located abroad. The Monaco Memo emphasizes that the DOJ will expect companies to take all reasonable steps in to provide said documentation or provide reasonable alternatives should those documents be unable to produce. The memo also outlined the expectations from the DOJ in company compliance programs, specifically addressing incentivizing compliance and the need for companies to monitor ephemeral messaging. Covington & Burling LLP recommends, regarding responding to the Monaco Memo and shaping a compliant corporate culture, regular risk assessments and compliance benchmarking, which can improve efficiency and effectiveness of compliance programs and can pinpoint inefficiencies and use resources smartly.
The discussion then moved to the larger group of speakers, where questions were discussed such as what the political context of the Monaco Memo could have been, why German or European companies should take note of the new policy announcements, and how companies can best position themselves, should they be under DOJ investigation, to be fully compliant. The senior attorneys at Covington & Burling LLP spoke on how companies can best demonstrate the effectiveness of their compliance programs to the DOJ, balancing DOJ investigation and GDPR requirements, and also the proactive steps companies can take in response to the Monaco Memo.
The discussion was a fruitful and detailed conversation surrounding the newest policy announcements and what comes next. Thank you to Lanny Breuer and our speakers during the Expert Webinar and all our participants in the lively dialogue.