Judicial Review of Deferred Prosecution Agreements: United States v. Fokker Services B.V.—District Court Rejects as “Grossly Disproportionate” a Deferred Prosecution Agreement in U.S. Economic Sanctions Case

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP - February 6, 2015

On February 5, 2015, Judge Richard J. Leon of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia rejected a proposed Deferred Prosecution Agreement (“DPA”) between the Department of Justice and Fokker Services, B.V. (“Fokker”) arising from admitted violations of U.S. sanctions laws.  In the strongest rejection of a DPA to date, Judge Leon found the agreement too lenient, “grossly disproportionate” in light of the conduct charged by the government, expanding upon a recent trend of increased judicial scrutiny of DPAs and similar settlement agreements, and carving out a robust role for federal judges in overseeing the DPA process.  This decision may shift the dynamic even further as prosecutors and companies consider the resolution of government investigations short of a criminal plea.