Sunday, December 31, 2006

What's Coming in 2007

The New Year will deliver a variety of interesting cases and issues in the white collar crime field, and here are a few developments (and predictions) that may be of importance in 2007 (in no particular order):

  • The options-timing cases will come in waves, mostly civil SEC actions with the usual settlements, civil monetary penalties, and perhaps D&O bars, and a few will involve criminal charges against individual executives, especially general counsels who were responsible for the paperwork.
  • The Attorney-Client Privilege Protection Act, first previewed by Senator Arlen Specter in December 2006, will be an important legislative development. 
  • Along the same lines, the Department of Justice's newly-christened McNulty Memo will be the subject of close Congressional scrutiny.
  • The trial of I. Lewis Libby on perjury, false statement, and obstruction of justice charges should begin, unless it is derailed by problems under the Classified Information Procedures Act (CIPA).
  • Trials of former corporate chieftains will take place, although they won't involve the accounting and financial issues that arose in the Enron-WorldCom round of prosecutions.  Instead, they will involve discrete issues like conflicts of interest (Lord Black of Hollinger International), pretexting (Patricia Dunn of Hewlett-Packard), and options-timing issues (Gregory Reyes of Brocade Communications). Don't expect former Comverse Technology CEO Kobi Alexander to alight on these shores from Namibia during the year (or even the next couple).
  • The judicial application of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines will come in for further refinement when the Supreme Court decides two cases applying the "reasonableness" standard, U.S. v.Claiborne and U.S. v. Rita
  • The Capitol Hill corruption investigations, spurred on in part by former lobbyist and current federal inmate Jack Abramoff, may bring down more elected officials and staffers.  The investigation of Louisiana Representative William Jefferson, stalled as the D.C. Circuit reviews the FBI's search of his congressional office, should come to a head.
  • Increased prosecutions related to defense procurement.
  • Re-examination of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act to soften its effect on businesses.

We appreciate the number of readers who contact us with suggestions and comments, and hope we provide you with helpful information and commentary (even if you don't always agree with one or both of us).  We wish everyone a happy, healthy, and peaceful New Year.

(ph & esp)

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