Thursday, July 26, 2012
By Lucian Dervan - available here-
Abstract: Much has been written about the methods by which counsel may efficiently, thoroughly, and credibly conduct internal investigations. Given the globalization of such matters, however, this article seeks to focus on the challenges present when conducting an internal investigation of potential international white-collar criminal activity. In Part I, this article will examine the challenges of selecting counsel to perform internal investigations abroad. In particular, consideration will be given to global standards regarding the application of the attorney-client privilege and work product protections. In Part II, this article will discuss the influence of data privacy and protection laws in various countries and analyze the challenges of attempting to conduct an American-style internal investigation in such jurisdictions. Part III of this article will examine interactions with employees during international internal investigations and will consider the challenges of complying with varying labor laws and due process requirements around the world. Finally, in Part IV, this article will discuss the hazards of multi-jurisdictional investigations by government agencies. In particular, consideration will be given to decisions regarding the disclosure of investigatory findings and the difficulties of engaging in settlement negotiations in an international enforcement environment.
Tuesday, July 24, 2012
My learned and astute co-editor, Solomon Wisenberg, bridled at the thought of a criminal investigation of the Libor bank scandal (see here), which he believes will be a waste of time, and of the JP Morgan Chase trading loss (see here), which he believes lacks evidence of criminality. While I do not know enough about these matters to dispute his reasons, I nonetheless strongly believe a criminal investigation is warranted in both instances.
Financial manipulations which cost shareholders and customers of large institutions millions (or billions) of dollars require criminal investigation, and, if identifiable provable criminal wrongdoing is found, criminal prosecution. It has become clear that those institutions and their employees are incapable or unwilling to police themselves, and, as Mr. Wisenberg points out, the responsible regulatory agencies have often been asleep at the switch or even compliant.
That is not to say that every massive financial loss involves criminality or that weak or questionable criminal prosecutions should be brought to soothe the popular thirst for criminal punishment. It is not to say that genuine defenses, such as estoppel due to government approval or acquiescence, should not prevent prosecution. But for the huge financial institutions, even a penalty of almost a half billion dollars, as in the Barclays Bank "deferred prosecution" deal (effectively a "non-prosecution" deal), is merely a cost of doing business passed on to shareholders. And for many of the traders and manipulators, who always weigh risk but rarely morality, only the risk of a criminal prosecution (which for them involves potential prison sentences) will have any serious deterrent effect.
To be sure, criminal investigations, even without prosecutions, may deter innovation and creativity in financial vehicles and dealings (although I am not so sure that is a bad thing). Additionally, investigations themselves cause mental distress, potential loss of reputation, and considerable legal fees. Criminal investigations, therefore, should not be started without careful consideration by law enforcement or prosecutorial agencies. But massive losses of other people's money should almost always require an examination beyond a regulatory or civil one by our historically inept financial regulatory agencies.
Every death by other than natural causes, every fire of any proportion, and every serious automobile accident is reviewed by authorities for possible criminal prosecution. Is there any reason an unusual massive financial loss of other people's money should be exempt from scrutiny for possible criminality? I think not.
Sunday, July 22, 2012
William M. Welch II & William W. Taylor III, NLJ, The Brady problem: Time to face reality -Nothing less than changes in the discovery rules in criminal cases will ensure that exculpatory evidence is consistently produced to defendants
Steve Schaefer, Forbes, Wall Street Sheriff Preet Bharara Talks Insider Trading