Archive for the ‘Internal Investigations’ Category

Dual SEC and DOJ Agreements in FCPA Settlement

Posted on May 17th, 2011 by Eryn Karpinski Hoerster

Tenaris, S.A., a publicly traded corporation headquartered in Luxembourg with operations in 12 countries through 17 subsidiaries, today entered into separate agreements with the SEC Division of Enforcement and the DOJ’s Criminal Division for alleged violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  Although it must have been a bitter pill to swallow (totaling $9.9 million in disgorgement and criminal penalties), the company has agreed to provide full cooperation to the U.S. government in exchange for no criminal or civil sanctions.  From the attorney’s perspective, this case highlights the enormous tool-kit available to federal prosecutors across agencies, and the challenges facing companies who must negotiate with each of them in order to achieve the finality of a global settlement.     (more…)

Update on Stevens Dismissal: Questions on Discovery Rulings

Posted on May 11th, 2011 by Eryn Karpinski Hoerster

One of the remarkable things about the Stevens criminal indictment was the volume of attorney-client privileged material that comprised the evidence presented at trial.  While Judge Titus qualified his criticism of a District of Massachusetts Magistrate Judge’s order requiring these documents to be produced by noting that his opinion was “with the 20/20 vision of hindsight,” he found himself resolving that Crime-Fraud Exception was erroneously applied.   This left us wondering, why did the Magistrate Judge have the last word on the production of documents that eventually led to the indictment of Lauren Stevens?  Could this entire trial have been avoided had the discovery order been overturned? (more…)

District of Maryland Judge Dismisses Charges Against Glaxo Lawyer Lauren Stevens

Posted on May 10th, 2011 by Eryn Karpinski Hoerster

On Tuesday, Hon. Roger W. Titus of the District of Maryland granted defendant Lauren Stevens’ Rule 29 Motion for Judgment, acquitting her of all six charges  brought against her.  The opinion is notable as a hindsight analysis of the crime-fraud exception to the attorney-client privilege, the statutory safe harbor for advice of counsel in obstruction cases, and yet another example of good faith winning the day.  For attorneys, the opinion is also a ringing endorsement for zealous advocacy.  (more…)

Recent U.S. Sentencing Guideline Changes of Interest to Corporations, their Directors and Officers

Posted on November 12th, 2010 by David Smith

The United States Sentencing Commission (USSC) recently passed several amendments to the advisory Sentencing Guidelines (effective November 1, 2010), some of which are relevant to the sentencing of organizations.  Significantly, the USSC amended the guidelines that define  for awarding organizations credit at sentencing based on an effective compliance and ethics program. (more…)

Internal Investigations: Branded a Corporate Criminal. Part 2 – The risk of talking to law enforcement

Posted on August 20th, 2010 by David Smith

Many business executives believe if they have done nothing wrong, they should agree to be interviewed by law enforcement if requested to do so as part of an internal or criminal investigation.  Experienced white collar attorneys know better; even the truly innocent have much more to lose than they can gain by agreeing to be interviewed without the assistance of counsel.  The risks business executives face during law enforcement interviews increased this June when the United States Supreme Court effectively expanded law enforcement officers’ rights to obtain incriminating evidence through custodial interviews. (more…)

H-P CEO Case Highlights Role of Internal Investigations

Posted on August 19th, 2010 by admin

The road from hero to villain can be short.  Mark Hurd, the highly successful CEO of the world’s biggest computer manufacturer, was forced to resign earlier this month following an internal investigation of his relationship with a Hewlett-Packard marketing consultant.  According to reports, H-P’s internal investigation found no evidence that Mr. Hurd harassed an actress the company hired to work at corporate marketing events.  It did, however, find that Mr. Hurd had filed inaccurate expense claims relating to meals with the woman, travel and, in one case, fees for a corporate appearance by the actress. (more…)

Internal Investigations: Branded a Corporate Criminal

Posted on July 14th, 2010 by David Smith

Caught in the storm of a corporate internal investigation, many executives never stop to consider how being indicted would impact themselves, their families, their finances and their hard-earned reputations.  One potential consequence of an internal investigation is that the corporation will provide the government with the investigation’s findings or that the corporation will enter into a plea agreement with the government that may leave executives out in the cold. Consider the recent article “Executives find reputations don’t return after criminal charges dropped” from Bloomberg News and the “You Are Closer to Being Indicted Than You Think… ” article in the Construction Financial Management Association magazine describing the wrenching experiences of executives who were indicted but had charges dismissed pre-trial or were acquitted at trial. (more…)