President Biden Delivers on His Promise to Ramp Up Global Anti-Corruption Investigations and Enforcement

White-Collar Investigations and Litigation

On the campaign trail last year, then-Candidate Biden promised that his administration would crack down on global corruption, bribery, and money laundering schemes. To those who were listening, Candidate Biden’s promises clearly signaled that under a then-potential Biden Administration, companies should expect increased investigation and enforcement activity by the United States and its law enforcement agencies — the Department of Justice, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Department of the Treasury, to name just a few.

On June 3, 2021, President Biden followed through on these campaign promises. He issued a National Security Memorandum directing more than a dozen federal agencies to conduct a 200-day interagency review and to develop a comprehensive, written national strategy to combat corruption, which President Biden emphasized is “a risk to our national security.” More than a dozen federal agencies were directed to participate in the review.

While the results of this interagency review will not be presented to President Biden for further action until December 2021, we believe that the inevitable result of the review will be heightened anti-corruption investigation and enforcement activity and the allocation of additional federal resources (staffing, funding, etc.) to enforcement agencies, particularly with respect to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and anti-money laundering laws and rules. Companies, and particularly those with international operations, should prepare accordingly, including by reviewing and updating their compliance programs, as well as their ethics and conflict of interest policies and training. If your company would like our assistance in these regards, Calfee’s White-Collar Defense and Investigations attorneys stand ready to help.

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