In a recent interview with a leading news outlet, Sean Hecker maintains that Deferred and Non-Prosecution agreements have been paving the way for corporate crime settlements and should stay the way they are. Sean Hecker is a partner at Debevoise & Plimpton, one of the world’s most prestigious law firms.
Deferred and Non-prosecution agreements allow for a relative subtle resolution negotiated by parties. Sean Hecker believes that the lawyers fighting cases of corporate crimes could come to ease and understanding with the government if the companies are given a chance to put up a case rather than be at backfoot over the proceedings as is normally the case in many of the corporate crime cases. In many cases, in the past, the SEC did not take into account and recognize the efforts of multinationals with a first rated compliance program and were prosecuted because of one or two cases where a person crossed the line into doing something that they shouldn’t be doing. This needs to be checked upon and a mutual consensus is needed to arrive at a solution for such multinationals and corporations to be at par with the government. Sean Hecker believes that this situation has changed over the years with many high profile cases like the BNP Paribas case which was efficiently coordinated by the government and its related agencies towards finding an amicable solution.
Upon being asked about the 2008 financial collapse wherein the department came under criticism for not being able to prosecute big banks and their executives, Sean is of an opinion that there wasn’t any criminal conduct or a mala fide intention on part of the senior level management and top executives of banks.
On the question of the system being undermined by revolving doors, Sean said that the legal community sees the wrong side of people who go back into the government in the role of a public prosecutor. If anything, the incentive created by a revolving door is to bring more and more significant cases against senior folks and that is how one gets the recognition of the government. The …