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Mason Ji is a member of the firm’s Business Litigation practice, focusing on complex commercial cases for a broad range of clients.

On May 22, 2024, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) made a groundbreaking announcement that it declined prosecution of a biochemical company based on the company’s prompt voluntary self-disclosure of an employee’s export control violation and the company’s “exceptional” cooperation with DOJ’s National Security Division (“NSD”), the DOJ subcomponent responsible for investigating and prosecuting economic sanctions and export control violations (among other national security-related matters).

This is the first declination the NSD has announced since issuing its new corporate enforcement policy (“NSD Enforcement Policy”) in March 2024.  As discussed in our prior articles, DOJ announced a shift last year toward prioritizing investigation and enforcement against corporations for economic sanctions and export control violations, with Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco famously announcing that “sanctions are the new FCPA” and declaring that corporate enforcement in these areas is now a top DOJ priority.  This declination provides valuable insight into how the NSD will handle corporate enforcement of these matters and, importantly, signals a willingness to give meaningful credit to companies that self-disclose and cooperate in the investigation of violations in this area.Continue Reading First-Ever Declination Under DOJ NatSec Corporate Enforcement Policy: DOJ Signals Willingness to Meaningfully Credit Voluntarily Self-Disclosing and Cooperative Company Involved in Export Control Violations

On March 2, 2023, U.S. Department of Justice Deputy Attorney General (DAG) Lisa Monaco once again delivered groundbreaking remarks at the American Bar Association National Institute on White Collar Crime, this time heralding a new era of corporate enforcement aimed at addressing U.S. national security priorities.  Last spring, as U.S. sanctions against Russia rolled out, DAG Monaco described sanctions as “the new FCPA (Foreign Corrupt Practices Act”)” in terms of DOJ priorities, sending shockwaves through the world of corporate compliance.  Since then, DOJ has borne that promise out largely through an aggressive campaign, championed by Task Force KleptoCapture, as we have previously written about, resulting in a large number of criminal cases targeting individual defendants. 

In this most recent announcement, DAG Monaco set a new tone: announcing that enforcement of national security-related violations—most notably sanctions evasion and export control violations—against corporations would be among the top priorities of the DOJ.  Later in the day, Matthew Axelrod, Assistant Secretary for Export Enforcement within the Department of Commerce, Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), drove home that point, emphasizing that companies should no longer view export control and sanctions violations as “technical violations,” but would be well advised to view them as enterprise risks given the prioritization these issues are receiving within the various government enforcement agencies, including the DOJ.  Further highlighting this new landscape, the Department of Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) spoke at the ABA White Collar Conference for the first-time ever on March 2 and the DOJ, BIS and OFAC issued their first-of-its kind joint compliance guidance the same day, relating to third party-intermediary risks. 

It was a day filled with sea-changing announcements for sanctions and export control enforcement, but the takeaway was simple: Sanctions and export controls really are the new FCPA in terms of corporate enforcement priorities and related compliance expectations.  The Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section (MLARS) has already begun conducting sanctions- and export-related investigations.Continue Reading DOJ to Prioritize Enforcement of Sanctions and Export Control Violations Against Corporations

On September 29, 2022, the Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) issued its highly anticipated Final Rule implementing the beneficial ownership information (“BOI”) reporting requirements of the Corporate Transparency Act (“CTA”) legislation. The Final Rule brings about the most significant revisions to the U.S. anti-money laundering/countering the financing of terrorism (“AML/CFT”) compliance framework in more than 20 years, implementing sweeping beneficial ownership disclosure requirements applicable to all U.S. companies and foreign companies doing business with or within the U.S.

The Final Rule generally tracks FinCEN’s earlier Proposed Rule from December 7, 2021, discussed in our prior article here, although there have been a few amendments to the earlier proposal. Below we provide a brief summary of key provisions and takeaways from the Final Rule, which goes into effect on January 1, 2024.Continue Reading FinCEN Issues Highly Anticipated Final Rule on Beneficial Ownership Reporting under the Corporate Transparency Act