Christopher J. Cestaro, Departing US Justice Department FCPA Chief, Joins WilmerHale

Christopher J. Cestaro, Departing US Justice Department FCPA Chief, Joins WilmerHale

Attorney News

WilmerHale is pleased to announce that Christopher J. Cestaro, among the world’s leading anti-corruption practitioners and, until last week, chief of the US Justice Department’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) Unit, is joining the firm’s market-leading white collar practice as a partner.

Mr. Cestaro will become a member of the firm’s White Collar Defense and Investigations Group, home to one of the world’s preeminent FCPA and anti-corruption practices. He will be based in the firm’s Washington DC office.

At WilmerHale, in addition to FCPA work, Mr. Cestaro will defend companies and individuals against a wide range of high-stakes domestic and multi-jurisdictional government enforcement actions. His practice will include internal investigations; compliance counseling and risk assessments, with a focus on anti-corruption matters; and due diligence reviews of third parties, mergers and acquisitions, and other transactions.

As head of the FCPA Unit, Mr. Cestaro oversaw all the Justice Department’s FCPA investigations, prosecutions and resolutions in the US. He supervised many of the government’s most challenging and high-profile cross-border investigations, involving every significant industry sector, and he oversaw investigations of individuals at the highest levels of companies and government, including corporate board members, executives and senior foreign government officials.

He led the unit at a time when enforcement authorities in other nations increasingly launched corruption probes and enforcement actions, requiring careful international coordination and diplomacy—a shift from the past, when such actions were mainly the province of US authorities acting alone.

As a result, more companies now confront complex cross-border FCPA investigations and negotiations. Mr. Cestaro was a Justice Department lawyer from 2012 to 2021, first in the Health Care Fraud Unit before moving to the FCPA Unit.

Mr. Cestaro’s experience also includes work as in-house compliance counsel for an international energy company, giving him a deep understanding of the needs and concerns of clients.

“We couldn’t be more pleased to have Chris join our best-in-class white collar team,” said Robert Novick, WilmerHale’s co-managing partner. “His exceptional enforcement and compliance experience and insights will be a tremendous resource for our clients, who face ever-increasing scrutiny and enforcement activity.”

“I was attracted by WilmerHale’s much-deserved reputation as a leader in the white collar, FCPA and investigations practice areas, and the opportunity to work with such incredibly talented and dedicated attorneys whose integrity, collegiality and client service are unsurpassed,” Mr. Cestaro said. “I am excited to work with my new colleagues to help clients mitigate their risks, strengthen their businesses, and navigate domestic and multi-jurisdictional government enforcement actions in an increasingly global and complex anti-corruption landscape.”

Before joining the Justice Department, Mr. Cestaro was an associate at another international law firm. He also worked in risk consulting and auditing roles at a major consultancy and a financial services firm.

Mr. Cestaro earned a University of Virginia School of Law JD in 2004. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Richmond.


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