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date: 21 June 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter seeks to explain to a mostly international and non-legal audience what drives and shapes the practices of prosecutors in their enforcement of US criminal law against corporations and their agents for conduct outside the United States. This explanation must begin with US law, which has jurisdictional and other features that afford American prosecutors unparalleled leeway and reach. Much more of the explanation for enforcement behaviors, however, lies in the political and professional economies that determine the incentives and choices of the US Department of Justice and its individual prosecutors. This explanation requires an understanding of the domestic political economy of criminal enforcement within the United States and the distinctive structure and culture of the American bar. Beyond this descriptive work, the chapter considers what might lie ahead as present US prosecutorial practices, which have been driven mostly by domestic influences, increasingly run into, or are pursued by, the prosecutorial practices of other nations, as well as attitudes toward prosecution in those nations.

Keywords: corporate crime, criminal enforcement, Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, white collar crime, global crime

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