Today’s modern world enables complex business transactions to occur both within the United States as well as abroad in cross-border activities. Many of these transactions pose significant risks to business operations and the corporation’s profit margin. In addition, a variety of high-risk activities by the corporation can have a negative impact on its reputation. Therefore, corporations today are finding it beneficial to have corporate intelligence and investigation services for their business operations. These services are considered an important safeguard against both civil and criminal liability, can help the corporation manage risk, and will enable it to respond and remediate identified threats as soon as possible.
II. Key Areas That Need to Be Protected
Whether you are a law firm, financial institution or bank, governmental agency, a non-profit entity, or an individual, navigating a business in a globalized world is challenging. The landscape is filled with complex regulatory, legal, and compliance issues that are constantly evolving. The following are key areas that need to be protected, especially when undertaking novel business activities or high-risk transactions:
- Intellectual property rights
- The business’ assets
- Intelligence, innovation, and business ideas
- Your brand and business
- Your freedom
These are just a few of the areas most critical to the successful operation of your business—areas that need to be protected with the utmost care, as explained by the Corporate Investigations attorneys at Oberheiden, P.C.
III. Examples of Corporate Intelligence and Investigations Services
As mentioned, many corporations are finding it valuable to hire an independent professional to provide its business with corporation investigative services. A professional—such as an attorney experienced in handling corporate intelligence and investigation services—can help the corporation prevent fraud and lessen the media and public exposure. The following are examples of such corporate intelligence and investigation services:
- Risk identification and management: A significant part of risk identification and management is understanding the legal, regulatory, and compliance environment under which your corporation operates. The laws regulating the business operations of the corporation are constantly changing, which can present novel risks. By having a clear understanding of the corporation’s market risks, high-risk transactions, and competition, the corporation can better detect and respond to risks.
- Complex corporate investigations: Corporations often need intelligence and investigation services that are detailed, complicated, span multiple years, and require expert services. A corporate investigation attorney can provide thorough, discreet, and comprehensive services to identify complex forms of misconduct such as fraud, corruption, bribery, money laundering, etc.
- Security and internal controls enhancement: Security and internal controls are an integral part of a corporation’s internal operations. As the sophistication of the Internet advances, there are increased opportunities to engage in cyber-crime, online fraud, and other digital threats that jeopardize the overall security of the corporation’s operations. A corporate intelligence attorney can help evaluate the security of the corporation and ensure that it is updated and optimized to keep the corporation protected.
- Due diligence measures: Due diligence measures are crucial every time the corporation undertakes a significant business transaction. Due diligence procedures should be imposed before the transaction is completed, during the negotiation and finalization processes, and after it is completed. Significant business transactions include third-party deals, high-value assets, or business arrangements with foreign parties. Proper due diligence such as reporting and monitoring will minimize the risks associated with these transactions.
- Regulatory and compliance review: Having a robust compliance policy deeply integrated within the corporation is important for several reasons. First, it helps prevent misconduct by instilling a culture of open communication and commitment to full compliance of the law. Second, it allows the corporation to respond and remediate the situation as soon as possible. Third, it demonstrates the corporation’s intention to maintain full compliance with the law. Lastly, it can lead to leniency or reduced penalties if a corporate internal investigation is started. Your attorney can ensure that your business is satisfying the requirements for an effective compliance policy by undertaking a strategic regulatory and compliance review.
- Litigation services: An attorney can guide the corporation through litigation services if a federal investigation results from one or more instances of misconduct within the business.
- Customer, business, or third-party checks: Deciding to conduct business with a new party can be a risky endeavor especially where that additional party is in a foreign country. If your corporation needs to enter into a business arrangement with a third-party, law firms experienced in corporate intelligence and investigation services can evaluate the party, their services, credibility, etc. Your attorney can also perform social media analysis to better understand the third party, which is especially important today.
IV. How An Attorney Can Help With Your Business Decisions
As mentioned, the role of an attorney experienced in providing corporate intelligence and investigation services cannot be understated. No two businesses are the same in terms of their size, location, goals, regulatory environment, etc. An attorney is able to provide a hand-tailored approach to the needs of every corporation to help it achieve its goals and guard against risk exposure. Below is a small list of tasks as to how a corporate intelligence and investigations attorney can help you:
- Conducting background checks on individuals and parties prior to entering into prospective business deals;
- Performing due diligence regarding high-risk transactions such as third parties or foreign transactions;
- Protecting the corporation’s intellectual property rights;
- Organizing internal investigations for alleged misconduct;
- Gathering evidence from all available sources—whether domestic or abroad;
- Providing litigation support in response to federal allegations that investigate business deals—such as lawsuits involving corruption, fraud, or bribery under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”);
- Helping the corporation comply with various external disclosure and reporting obligations;
- Containing a small and/or large-scale crisis;
- Defending corporations against civil and/or criminal liability;
- Protecting the corporation’s online reputation by scanning for online threats, viruses, and susceptibility of the corporation’s system to cybercrimes;
“Many corporations and individuals believe that they need to retain legal advice when they are under investigation either from a federal agency or internally within the organization. However, there are other types of transactions such as high-risk business arrangements or deals with third parties that demand legal assistance to ensure full compliance, protect against liability, and lessen the media exposure. A corporate intelligence and investigations attorney can respond to all situations of suspected threats, fraud, abuse, and cyber attacks as well as government investigations and litigation.” – Dr. Nick Oberheiden, Founding Attorney of Oberheiden P.C.
Every year, more and more businesses are expanding into new markets and entering into more complex cross-border transactions. With this development comes an increased risk to businesses—risks that could drastically affect the corporation’s operations, relationship with third parties, profit, and reputation. Major business deals or high-risk transactions potentially expose the corporation to federal liability, external threats, and media exposure. In order to guard against these risks, a corporation should immediately retain an experienced corporate intelligence and investigations attorney that can help the corporation reduce fraud, assess risk, and engage in effective decision-making.