The Global Reach of U.S. Law Enforcement

December 10, 2018New York Law Journal

In the past decade, the Department of Justice has increased its focus on prosecuting white collar crimes that are committed outside of the United States. Some observers have questioned the fairness of this emphasis on offshore targets, but DOJ has collected billions of dollars in financial penalties from international banks and corporations based on investigations relating to benchmark rates (LIBOR, foreign exchange), violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), and money laundering. DOJ’s international focus has expanded at the same time as courts have shown increased skepticism about using our laws to punish conduct that only indirectly or tangentially impacts the United States. Courts seem increasingly willing to limit the extraterritorial application of U.S. law. Given that DOJ typically resolves its corporate investigations with settlement agreements, it may be left to counsel for individual defendants to advocate for expansion of this developing body of law.

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