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An Offer You Couldn’t Possibly Want To Refuse

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The Justice Department more or less exists to put people in jail. And in spite of what Antonin Scalia might think, banks are not people. At least, they aren’t people-y enough to put in jail. And that’s the point: You can file criminal charges against a bank, sure, but you probably won’t get to grandstand in front of a jury and will instead have to strike some sort of unsatisfying settlement that might not impress the white-shoe law-firm you’d like to join in a couple of years as much as a courtroom scalp.

You know who you can put into jail? Bank employees. Because bank employees are actual people whose physical personages can be placed behind bars. And if you’re a bank and you can help the Justice Department put some people in jail, it would sure be grateful. Full cooperation credit grateful.

“At the risk of being a little too Brooklyn, I’m going to be blunt: If you want full cooperation credit, make your extensive efforts to secure evidence of individual culpability the first thing you talk about when you walk in the door to make your presentation” to the Justice Department, Mr. Miller, a former federal prosecutor in Brooklyn, said at the Global Investigation Review Program in New York. He then added: “Make those efforts the last thing you talk about before you walk out….”

“This is one of the lessons that should be drawn from the BNP Paribas and Credit Suisse cases,” Mr. Miller said. “Through parent-level guilty pleas and multibillion-dollar penalties, BNP Paribas and Credit Suisse paid a historic price not only for their criminal conduct, but also for their insulation of culpable corporate employees.”

Justice Department Urges Banks to Implicate Employees [DealBook]

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