Foreign bribery prosecutor Daniel Kahn leaves the Department of Justice

A federal prosecutor who has overseen the Department of Justice’s enforcement of a key anti-corruption law in three US presidential administrations is stepping down to return to private practice.

During an 11-year stint at the Justice Department, Daniel Kahn, whose last day was Wednesday, quit his post as attorney general to become his most recognizable expert on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. He will return to Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, where he previously worked, said a spokesperson for the law firm.

Daniel Kahn has helped lead the Department of Justice’s FCPA unit since 2016. He now joins the Davis Polk & Wardwell law firm.


Department of Justice

The FCPA, which prohibits companies from paying bribes to foreign public officials, has become one of the government’s most powerful tools to control foreign affairs. The law applies to US companies and foreign companies listed on a US stock exchange or having other ties to the United States.

Since the early 2000s, law enforcement by the Department of Justice has led to a series of successful settlements with some of the world’s best-known companies, including a $ 1.6 billion fine involving Siemens AG

in 2008 and a $ 2.9 billion fine for the Goldman Sachs group Inc.

reached last year.

As law enforcement has expanded, law enforcement agencies and regulators in countries around the world have partnered with the Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission. of the United States, which also enforces the FCPA, to investigate and resolve cases of corruption by multinational corporations.

FCPA regulations increasingly involve a plethora of government agencies and fines spread across two or more countries, as happened with the Siemens and Goldman Sachs regulations.

Mr Kahn joined the Justice Department’s fraud section, part of its criminal division, in 2010, and became head of its FCPA unit in 2016. As he rose through the ranks of the unit, he worked on cases involving the French transport company Alstom. HER

and the American fashion company Ralph Lauren Corp.

Over the past few years, Mr. Kahn has held several senior positions within the Fraud Section and the Criminal Section. But he continued to be a key manager of the department’s FCPA program, appearing on anti-corruption law panels at compliance conferences and at an appeals court hearing involving a former Alstom executive who has been accused of breaking the law.

He has also supervised teams of attorneys investigating cases of healthcare and securities fraud and market manipulation. The fraud section, which includes around 180 prosecutors, is one of the largest teams of white-collar prosecutors in the country.

Government priorities and resources related to white-collar crime change frequently, but the FCPA has remained the cornerstone of the Fraud Section’s law enforcement program for nearly two decades.

This endurance stems from the fact that cases are handled by a dedicated unit staffed and overseen by career prosecutors, rather than people appointed by politicians, Kahn said Wednesday.

“I don’t see a slowdown in the near future,” Kahn said. “They continue to look for new and innovative ways to identify corruption.”

While the investment of resources may vary slightly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, Kahn said support for FCPA implementation was consistent across the three jurisdictions he served under. This was also true under Donald Trump, who called the FCPA “horrible law” before he became president, Kahn said.

The Biden administration, in line with previous administrations, has made the fight against corruption a mainstay of the government’s national security agenda, leading some lawyers to speculate that the Department of Justice may commit additional resources to investigate cases of corruption. FCPA.

Attorney General Merrick Garland in June launched a task force focused on strengthening the department’s efforts to combat human trafficking and corruption in Mexico and the Central American countries of Guatemala, El Salvador and of Honduras, in particular through the application of the anti-corruption law.

Mr Kahn said he would miss his job at the Justice Department, but looked forward to continuing to play a role as a partner in Davis Polk’s white-collar advocacy practice.

“As much as I’m going to be sad to leave some of my closest friends in the department, I’m also thrilled to join some of my old friends at the firm and the group of talented lawyers there,” he said.

Corrections and amplifications
Davis Polk & Wardwell was previously misspelled as Davis Polk & Wardell in the subtitle. (Corrected September 29.)

Write to Dylan Tokar at [email protected]

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