The doctrine under former AG Eric Holder (documented in Matt Taibbi's brilliant The Divide) was to allow executives to pay fines that were less than the profits from their crimes.
Holder said that he was protecting the innocent employees, suppliers, customers and shareholders of these criminal enterprises by allowing companies to continue operating and financing the US government by taxing some of the wealth generated by their crimes. Curiously, he never used his prosecutorial power to bargain for the breakup of too-big-to-jail enterprises into smaller ones whose C-suite could be led out of their offices in handcuffs without creating systemic risk.
Eric Holder is back in private practice today at Covington & Burling, the corporate law-firm whose clients avoided prison thanks to his strategy of using fines instead of jail for high-ranking corporate criminals.
The new rules, issued in a memo to federal prosecutors nationwide, are the first major policy announcement by Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch since she took office in April. The memo is a tacit acknowledgment of criticism that despite securing record fines from major corporations, the Justice Department under President Obama has punished few executives involved in the housing crisis, the financial meltdown and corporate scandals.
“Corporations can only commit crimes through flesh-and-blood people,” Sally Q. Yates, the deputy attorney general and the author of the memo, said in an interview on Wednesday. “It’s only fair that the people who are responsible for committing those crimes be held accountable. The public needs to have confidence that there is one system of justice and it applies equally regardless of whether that crime occurs on a street corner or in a boardroom.”
Justice Department Sets Sights on Wall Street Executives [Matt Apuzzo and Ben Protess/NYT]
Philips has acquired Luciom, a French startup that makes Li-Fi products, which allow for very fast network connections over short distances by flickering an LED at speeds that are too fast to register on the human eye, and which can ever work in the dark by operating at low dimness settings the human eye perceives […]
Many insurers offer breaks to people who wear activity trackers that gather data on them; as Cathy “Mathbabe” O’Neil points out, the allegedly “anonymized’ data-collection is trivial to re-identify (so this data might be used against you), and, more broadly, the real business model for this data isn’t improving your health outcomes — it’s dividing […]
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Although there will never be a consensus about the best way to make coffee, any coffee connoisseur will agree that controlling the grind of your beans and balancing water temperature are the keys to a tasty cup. Since your plastic coffee pot doesn’t really allow for that kind of customization, going back to the French […]
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