On Monday, June 1, 2020, the Department of Justice’s (DOJ’s) Criminal Division issued an updated version of the “Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs” guidance. The guidance was originally published by the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section in February 2017, and last revised in April 2019. The updated guidance emphasizes the need for companies to ensure that their compliance function is sufficiently resourced and empowered to fulfill its mission, and to engage in continuous improvement—evolving as necessary to meet changing circumstances and challenges. The updated guidance also provides practical takeaways on issues related to training, testing, mergers and acquisitions, and the impact of foreign law on a company’s compliance program. Given the unique stressors and challenges that the coronavirus pandemic has created, this updated guidance is a timely reminder for companies to assess whether their compliance program comports with best practices and DOJ’s expectations.
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