As the first year of a new administration, 2017 was a year of transition in terms of both leadership and priorities of U.S. law enforcement agencies. Despite these changes, however, pre-existing trends in cross-border investigations, regulations, and enforcement have continued unabated. Senior U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) officials in the Trump administration have publicly confirmed the agencies' commitments to coordinating with foreign authorities and signaled that the extent of coordination will continue to increase in the coming years. As Steven R. Peikin, Co-director of the SEC's Division of Enforcement, observed in a speech in November 2017, "The level of cooperation and coordination among regulators and law enforcement worldwide is on a sharply upward trajectory." Indeed, to further cement transatlantic relationships, the DOJ Fraud Section has detailed a senior prosecutor to the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the U.K.
BakerHostetler's 2017 Year-End Cross-Border Government Investigations and Regulatory Enforcement Review provides highlights and analysis of important transnational legislative, judicial, regulatory, and enforcement activities during the second half of 2017. As cross-border cooperation grows, this report attempts to keep companies and individuals informed of relevant trends and developments in the U.S., Europe, and beyond that may impact their global activities. Part II of this report highlights key developments in the area of cross-border regulatory enforcement, with a particular focus on efforts by U.S. regulators to target allegedly manipulative tactics involving the securities industry that, despite occurring overseas, they claim substantially affect U.S. interests. Part II also summarizes the U.S.'s efforts in bringing accounting fraud and trade sanction actions against foreign companies and individuals with only tangential connections between the conduct alleged and the U.S. Part III analyzes the continued use by U.S. and foreign law enforcement of various tools involved in cross-border criminal investigations and prosecutions, including developments in the widely discussed Microsoft-Ireland case, whistleblower programs, and deferred prosecution agreements. Part IV discusses what the authors view as the key cross-border legislative, regulatory, and enforcement priorities in 2017 and beyond. Part V concludes with an update on one of those more challenging practical issues facing companies caught up in a cross-border investigation: maintaining the attorney-client privilege and work product doctrine.
We encourage you to read this report in conjunction with BakerHostetler's other year-end reviews: the 2017 FCPA Year-End Update and the 2017 Year-End Securities Litigation and Enforcement Highlights.
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