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The Champion

February 2009 , Page 32 

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Will an 'Independent' Internal Investigation Always Make a Difference to a Corporation?

By Marc S. Raspanti,Divya Wallace

Media and journal headlines routinely report alleged misconduct at the highest levels of corporate America. At times, in response to a preemptive disclosure of corporate misdeeds, a corporation will announce that it is conducting an “independent internal investigation.” In some instances, a charge of wrongdoing by a corporation, its officers, or members of its Board of Directors could result in a significant risk to the future viability of that corporation.

At first blush, the phrase “independent internal investigation” seems an apparent contradiction in terms, if not an actual or perceived conflict of interest. How “independent” is any investigation if it is conducted or controlled by the same company that is accused of the alleged wrongdoing? The critical and, indeed, significant question becomes: How can a corporation conduct an internal investigation whose results will be accepted as independent and credible by the public, shareholders, the financial community, putative victims and,

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