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SPOTCHECKLEGAL


Ensuring compliance


in non-traditional communications


Messaging applications such as WhatsApp, Viber, Facebook Messenger and WeChat, among others, have spread rapidly across the business world. In the logistics sector, adoption has been widespread; their speed and ease of use has made them ideal communication tools for internal and external stakeholders. Nathan Lankford (member) and Dawn E Murphy-Johnson (counsel) at Washington DC-based law practice Miller & Chevalier Chartered discuss this development with HLPFI.


provides incentives for corporations to voluntarily self-disclose and cooperate with the DOJ in investigating potential FCPA violations, among other requirements. Dawn Murphy-Johnson of Miller &


T 48


Chevalier Chartered explained that under the policy, companies can get credit in the form of a declination to prosecute (in other words no enforcement action against the company) or a reduced penalty. In order to qualify for this credit,


organisations need to do four basic things: • Voluntarily disclose the misconduct • Cooperate fully with the FCPA investigation


• Ensure timely and appropriate remediation


• Disgorge/forfeit any profit resulting from the misconduct Point three – timely and appropriate


remediation – is where messaging services enter the equation. Instant messaging applications, for example WhatsApp, have presented challenges to FCPA investigations. For example, these types of messaging apps


May/June 2019


The DOJ views this type of communication through messaging software as potentially very valuable in an FCPA investigation... – Nathan Lankford,


Miller & Chevalier Chartered


he US Department of Justice (DOJ) unveiled its revised Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) Corporate Enforcement Policy on November 29, 2017, which


contain data that may not be stored on company devices, and it is often encrypted and difficult to retrieve.


Messaging apps contain data that may not be stored on company devices.


Nathan Lankford of Miller & Chevalier


Chartered said: “When the policy came out in December 2017, we had just finished an investigation where it was very difficult to access this kind of communication and it was pertinent to what we were investigating. We assumed that the DOJ was facing similar issues.”


Key purpose He added: “The DOJ views this type of communication through messaging software as potentially very valuable in an FCPA investigation... the key purpose of this requirement, from the DOJ’s perspective, is to help ensure that internal and governmental investigators have reasonable access to this type of data.” The original provision stated that


companies should prohibit employees from “using software that generates but does not appropriately retain business records or communications”. This suggested that continued use of messaging applications meant organisations risked not getting credit during an investigation into potential FCPA violations. However, the language of that initial


provision was subject to interpretation. On March 8, 2019, the DOJ updated its official


www.heavyliftpfi.com


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