Have big corporations become too big to prosecute? Should the Justice Department revamp its practice of cutting deferred and non prosecution deals with these companies and go back to the practice of forcing guilty pleas in cases of serious wrongdoing? Why doesn’t the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) require corporations to admit wrongdoing in such cases? Has America become, in the words of Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi, a two class system — an arrestable class and an unarrestable class?
These will be some of the questions tackled head on at a one day conference May 3, 2013 at the National Press Club.
The conference, sponsored by Corporate Crime Reporter, is titled Neither Admit Nor Deny: Corporate Crime in the Age of Deferred Prosecutions, Consent Decrees, Whistleblowers and Monitors.
The luncheon keynote speaker will be Mythili Raman, the new acting chief of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division.
The conference comes at a time when increased attention is being paid to the corporate criminal justice system.
Earlier this month, Attorney General Eric Holder raised eyebrows when he said that some big banks may be too big to prosecute.
“I am concerned that the size of some of these institutions becomes so large that it does become difficult for us to prosecute them when we are hit with indications that if you do prosecute, if you do bring a criminal charge, it will have a negative impact on the national economy, perhaps even the world economy,” Holder told the Senate Judiciary Committee last week. “And I think that is a function of the fact that some of these institutions have become too large.”
A number of federal judges, including Judge Jed Rakoff and Judge Richard Leon, have criticized the SEC for, among other things, not ditching its neither admit nor deny settlement procedure and instead requiring major corporations to admit wrongdoing in egregious cases as a condition of settlement.
Critics, such as former New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer, calls the leadership at the Department of Justice, including Attorney General Holder, “horrendous” and “a failure” for not criminally prosecuting big banks like HSBC.
Major news outlets — including the CBS News program 60 Minutes and PBS Frontline — have run special investigative reports documenting the Justice Department’s failure to criminally prosecute major corporate crimes.
The conference panel on Deferred and Non Prosecution Agreements will feature: Denis McInerney, the Criminal Division’s Deputy Assistant Attorney General, David Uhlmann of the University of Michigan Law School, Steven Fagell of Covington & Burling, Kathleen Harris of Arnold & Porter (UK), Anthony Barkow of Jenner & Block, and Mike Koehler, the FCPA Professor, of Southern Illinois University School of Law.
The conference panel on SEC Consent Decrees will feature John Coffee of the Columbia Law School, George Canellos, the Deputy Director at SEC’s Enforcement Division, Thomas Hanusik of Crowell & Moring, Mei Lin Kwan-Gett of Willkie Farr & Gallagher, and William McLucas of WilmerHale.
The panel on Corporate Monitors will feature John Buretta, the Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General and Chief of Staff of the Criminal Division at the Department of Justice, Shirah Neiman of SN Compliance LLC, Dan Newcomb of Shearman & Sterling, George Stamboulidis of BakerHostetler, Gil Soffer of Katten Muchin, and F. Joseph Warin of Gibson Dunn.
And the panel on SEC Whistleblower Cases will feature Stephen Cohen, the Associate Director of the SEC Division of Enforcement, Neil Getnick of Getnick & Getnick, Jordan Thomas of Labaton Sucharow, Linda Chatman Thomsen of Davis Polk Wardwell, and Lawrence West of Latham & Watkins.