DOJ Publishes Names of Active Compliance Monitors
Beginning of last week, on April 14, 2020, the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) launched a new webpage that lists the names of all currently active independent compliance monitors. With this move, the DoJ responded to years of criticism and numerous demands for more transparency in the awarding of corporate compliance monitorships. Already in October 2018, the DoJ had taken first steps in this direction by publishing its so-called Benczkowski-Memorandum [also see our post]. The memo specified and made binding certain criteria for the imposition of compliance monitorships and the selection of monitors in criminal division matters. Previously, in March 2018, a D.C. federal judge had condemned the DoJ to turn over the names of prospective monitors nominated to oversee the corporate compliance programs of fifteen companies that had come into conflict with the FCPA. In its ruling the court had found that the monitor’s interest in privacy and anonymity was outweighed by the public interest in knowing their identity.
DoJ’s current monitor list shows thirteen active monitorships, four of them concerning German-based companies. The remarkable number of German companies on the list demonstrates that the standards of the U.S. authorities, above all the DoJ, on compliance and compliance monitorship certainly have relevance for German companies. Also, should these standards be considered by the German legislator, who is currently about to introduce a type of corporate monitorship as part of the upcoming Corporate Sanctions Act [see also our posts from August 29, 2019 und September 5, 2019]. When designing and implementing this legal institute in Germany, it will be essential to effectively draw on the historical development and years of practical experience in dealing with US Compliance monitorships [see my article in CCZ], the criticism in this regard but also the positive results and lessons learned from it. We must and we should not start at square one here.