SOX Litigation-Holds Triggers - Public and Private Companies Susceptible to Criminal Prosecution for Obstruction of Justice

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Years after passage of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, many companies still believe the Act applies uniquely to public companies. In fact, private companies that ignore the Act?s obstruction-of-justice provisions do so at their peril. Two increasingly important provisions of Sarbanes-Oxley were set forth in §§ 802 and 1102 and codified, respectively, at 18 U.S.C. § 1519 and 18 U.S.C.§ 1512(c). These provisions impose substantial criminal penalties on any individual or entity ? public or private ? for destruction of evidence or obstruction of justice regarding any actual or ?contemplated? federal investigation, matter or official proceeding. A company therefore potentially could violate the law before an actual official governmental interest arises.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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