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


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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