Proclaiming that “sanctions are the new FCPA” (Foreign Corrupt Practices Act), Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco announced earlier this month increased efforts by the Department of Justice to enforce U.S. economic sanctions and related export controls.

For more information on how to ensure your company is in compliance with U.S. sanctions and export controls, please contact attorney Kristine Pirnia at (202) 730-4964 or via email.

“In today’s complex and uncertain … geopolitical environment, corporate crime and national security are overlapping to a degree never seen before,” Monaco said. The DOJ is therefore “retooling to meet that challenge,” including more personnel and resources for the National Security Division and “doubling down on the successful strategies we have deployed to attack cyber and crypto crime.”

According to Monaco, “significant restructuring and resource commitments” within the NSD will include adding more than 25 new prosecutors who will investigate and prosecute sanctions evasion, export control violations, and similar economic crimes. The division will also name its first-ever chief counsel for corporate enforcement.

The NSD also plans to issue an apparently regular series of joint advisories with the Commerce and Treasury departments to inform the private sector about enforcement trends and convey the DOJ’s expectations as to national security-related compliance. The first advisory was issued March 2 and focused on the use of third-party intermediaries or transshipment points to evade Russian- and Belarussian-related sanctions and export controls.

More broadly, Monaco said, as the NSD “expands its capacity to investigate and prosecute corporate sanctions violations, they will work closely with U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division to apply enforcement strategies that have proven their worth in other areas of the department.”

On the one hand, the DOJ has worked to “empower companies to do the right thing by investing in compliance, in culture, and in good corporate citizenship.” For example, the department is promoting the use of voluntary self-disclosures and now has a single policy across all USAOs under which “no department component will seek a guilty plea where a company has voluntarily self-disclosed, cooperated, and remediated the misconduct.” The DOJ is also launching a pilot to reward companies with compliance-promoting compensation programs, including through fine reductions for companies that seek to recover compensation from corporate wrongdoers.

On the other hand, Monaco said, the DOJ is also “empowering our prosecutors to hold accountable those who don’t follow the law.” For example, the DOJ will be making a substantial investment in the Bank Integrity Unit in the Criminal Division’s Money Laundering and Asset Recovery Section, which “has a significant track record of prosecuting global financial institutions for sanctions violations.”

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