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Introduction It is late on a Friday afternoon The Chief Executive Officer or the General Counsel of XYZ Corp receives a telephone call advising that the local FBI United States Attorney or Regional Office of the SEC is investigating serious charges of wrongdoing alleged to have been committed by Ms A the Companys Chief Operating Officer and governmental liaison in connection with a number of government procurements A search warrant or an all-inclusive subpoena has been or shortly will be issued for all documents relating to Ms A and the government contracts she has helped procure The Companys cooperation is sought Governmental civil and criminal investigations are a fixture of our corporate landscape Senior managers and ultimately corporate directors have to assess the need to be responsive to various governmental pressures while at the same time giving true meaning to the presumption of innocence upon which all of us rely When events of this nature arise reliance on clichs unthinking adherence to laudatory principles and guidelines and a failure to assess the particular situation can lead many corporations down a path they will soon rue The current environment imposes a responsibility on companies to ferret out employee misconduct and to deal with any known or suspected instances of misconduct with efficient and decisive measures What is lacking are prescribed guidelines for directors to whom these difficult questions are referred This essay seeks to fill that void The Current Ambient Circumstances At a minimum at least five specific factors should influence how corporations and their officers and directors respond to indications of possible illegality on the part of one or more senior employees of the Company First the Doctrine of Accountability suggests that officers and directors aware of potentially illegal conduct by senior employees may be liable for any recurrence of similar misconduct and may have an obligation to halt and cure any continuing effects of the initial misconduct In two cases - In
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