The International Investigations Review: Editor's Preface

In its second year, the Biden administration has made clear its prioritisation of white-collar prosecutions. This includes changes in policy and guidance, such as a renewed focus on individual accountability, an increased concern with corporate recidivism, and greater scrutiny of the use, and repeated use, of deferred prosecution agreements (DPAs) and non-prosecution agreements (NPAs). The administration has announced plans not only to redistribute existing resources to prosecutions of corporate crime but to increase resources, particularly through the hiring of more white-collar prosecutors and investigative agents. Although recovery from the covid-19 pandemic and more recently the consequences of the Russia–Ukraine war have slowed the administration's implementation of these corporate enforcement priorities, US and non-US corporations alike will continue to face increasing scrutiny by US authorities.

The trend towards more enforcement and harsher penalties has by no means been limited to the United States; while the US government continues to lead the movement to globalise the prosecution of corporations, a number of non-US authorities appear determined to adopt the US model. Parallel corporate investigations in several countries increasingly compound the problems for companies, as conflicting statutes, regulations, and rules of procedure and evidence make the path to compliance a treacherous one. What is more, government authorities forge their own prosecutorial alliances and share evidence or, conversely, have their own rivalries and block the export of evidence, further complicating a company's defence. These trends show no sign of abating.

As a result, corporate counsel around the world are increasingly called upon to advise their clients on the implications of criminal and regulatory investigations outside their own jurisdictions. This can be a daunting task, as the practice of criminal law – particularly corporate criminal law – is notorious for following unwritten rules and practices that cannot be gleaned from a simple review of a country's criminal code. Of course, nothing can replace the considered advice of an expert local practitioner, but a comprehensive review of corporate investigative practices around the world will find a wide and grateful readership.

The authors who have contributed to this volume are acknowledged experts in the field of corporate investigations and leaders of the Bars of their respective countries. We have attempted to distil their wisdom, experience and insight around the most common questions and concerns that corporate counsel face in guiding their clients through criminal or regulatory investigations. Under what circumstances can the corporate entity itself be charged with a crime? What are the possible penalties? Under what circumstances should a corporation voluntarily self-report potential misconduct on the part of its employees? Is it a realistic option for a corporation to defend itself at trial against a government agency? And how does a corporation manage the delicate interactions with employees whose conduct is at issue? The International Investigations Review answers these questions and many more, and will serve as an indispensable guide when your clients face criminal or regulatory scrutiny in a country other than your own. And while it will not qualify you to practise criminal law in a foreign country, it will highlight the major issues and critical characteristics of a given country's legal system and will serve as an invaluable aid in engaging, advising and directing local counsel in that jurisdiction. We are proud that, in its 12th edition, this publication features two overviews and covers 15 jurisdictions.

This volume is the product of exceptional collaboration. I wish to commend and thank our publisher and all the contributors for their extraordinary gifts of time and thought. The subject matter is broad and the issues raised are deep, and a concise synthesis of a country's legal framework and practice was challenging in each case.

Nicolas Bourtin
Sullivan & Cromwell LLP
New York
July 2022

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