“The US Department of Justice’s use of deferred prosecution agreements to resolve criminal investigations without holding individuals accountable is “technically and morally suspect,” according to a leading US judge.
“Judge Jed Rakoff, an outspoken jurist with a history of questioning regulatory settlements, said a shift over the past several years to prosecute companies and not individuals for wrongdoing ‘has led to some lax and dubious behaviour on the part of prosecutors’.
“Public criticism from a judge is unusual and comes as the DoJ has signalled to major banks that it will bring civil charges against them for allegedly mis-selling mortgage-backed securities in the lead-up to the financial crisis. The civil review comes as the statute of limitations for most criminal violations has passed.
“Judge Rakoff’s comment contributes to a broader debate in the legal community about the best way to punish wrongdoers.”
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