The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) is once again targeting corporate sanctions evasion and other financial crimes related to national security. Addressing the American Bar Association’s National Institute on White Collar Crime, Deputy Attorney General Lisa Monaco announced a major restructuring of the National Security Division and the addition of more than 25 new prosecutors. They will investigate economic crimes such as sanctions evasion and export control violations. Monaco says corporate investigations have growing national security implications and companies face multiple geopolitical and national security challenges.
CNN reports that according to Monaco, the National Security Division will issue new guidelines on what prosecutors expect from them to the U.S. Departments of Commerce and Treasury regarding assistance with national security compliance enforcement. In addition, the DOJ will make a “substantial investment” in the department’s Bank Integrity Unit to investigate and prosecute violations of international sanctions. Monaco noted that the DOJ had conducted corporate investigations into sanctions evasion in several industries, including transportation, financial technology, banking, defense and agriculture.
The Ministry of Justice has issued sanctions in various violation cases in the past year. For example, prosecutors reached a milestone last October with the first admission of guilt from a company – French cement company Lafarge SA – for providing material support to terrorism. The company admitted to making millions of dollars in payments in support of ISIS and another terrorist organization as part of an effort to continue its activities in Syria during the civil war.
The DOJ’s new effort marks a vital step in holding companies accountable.