On June 1, 2020, the Criminal Division of the U.S. Department of Justice (the “Department”) released revisions to its guidance regarding the Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs, which the Department uses in assessing the “adequacy and effectiveness” of a company’s compliance program in connection with any decision to charge or resolve a criminal investigation, including whether to impose a monitor or other compliance program obligations. The revised Guidance, while largely consistent with the April 2019 update, highlights the Department’s focus on how companies are assessing and updating their compliance programs. The recent updates are more thematic rather than structural and continue the prior version’s emphasis on incorporating “lessons learned” into a compliance program, continuously assessing and improving it, and using data to track and enhance the program’s operations. The revised Guidance also highlights the continued importance of training employees and, in the M&A context, of integrating a target into the acquiring company’s compliance framework.
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