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Companies Seeking U.S. Penalty Relief Face Transparency Caveat

Oct. 10, 2019, 5:07 PM

Financially strapped companies facing hefty U.S. fines should think hard before making an “inability to pay” claim under new Justice Department guidance that says federal prosecutors will closely examine their books, white-collar attorneys say.

The Department’s Criminal Division has made clear it wants a better, more comprehensive picture of a company’s financial situation before deciding whether to scale back monetary penalties due to an alleged inability to pay. A memo released Oct. 8 instructs the Division’s prosecutors how to assess claims from companies that say they don’t have enough cash to cover agreed-upon fines.

It’s intended to provide greater certainty...

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