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Navigating the U.S. Criminal Law Maze in the Corporate Deal

Speaker(s): Benjamin Gruenstein, John D. Buretta
Recorded on: Oct. 15, 2014
PLI Program #: 61305

Benjamin Gruenstein is a partner in Cravath’s Litigation Department.  His practice focuses on the representation of companies in government investigations, including those conducted by the Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as internal corporate investigations.  Mr. Gruenstein plays a principal role in representing the Firm’s clients in their government and internal investigations related to such matters as the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”), insider trading, criminal antitrust, accounting fraud and trade sanctions.  Mr. Gruenstein also conducts independent investigations on behalf of boards of directors in response to shareholder demands.

Prior to joining Cravath, Mr. Gruenstein served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the Criminal Division of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York from 2002 to 2008.  Mr. Gruenstein returned to Cravath in 2008, and became a partner in 2012.

In 2014 and 2015, Mr. Gruenstein was named one of Ethisphere Institute’s “Attorneys Who Matter” and in 2013, he was recognized as one of five Law360 “Rising Stars” in the nation in the White Collar category.  Mr. Gruenstein was also selected by Lawdragon as one of 500 Leading Lawyers in America from 2013 through 2015.  In 2015, Mr. Gruenstein and his colleagues earned the Firm recognition in the Corporate Crime & Investigations category of Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business.  He was also recognized for securities litigation and related regulatory enforcement matters in the 2015 edition of The Legal 500.  The 2016 editions of The Best Lawyers in America and Benchmark Litigation have recognized Mr. Gruenstein for his white collar criminal defense work.

Several of Mr. Gruenstein’s recent representations include:

  • Avon Products, Inc. in the investigation and resolution with the SEC and DOJ of allegations that the company violated the FCPA in connection with its business in China.
  • Computer Sciences Corporation in the resolution with the SEC of allegations of accounting and securities fraud.
  • IBM Corporation in the investigation and resolution with the SEC of allegations that the company violated the FCPA in connection with its operations in China and South Korea.
  • NCR Corporation in DOJ, SEC and Office of Foreign Assets Control investigations into allegations of FCPA and trade sanctions violations in China, the Middle East and Africa.
  • Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation in a civil enforcement action brought by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York alleging violations of the False Claims Act and Anti-Kickback Statute.
  • Xerox Corporation in an SEC investigation into allegations of accounting fraud by executives of its subsidiary, Affiliated Computer Services.  

Mr. Gruenstein was born in New York, New York.  He received an A.B. summa cum laude in Philosophy and Mathematics from Harvard College in 1996, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, and a J.D. magna cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1999, where he was an Editor of the Law Review.  After graduating from law school, Mr. Gruenstein clerked for the Honorable Stephen F. Williams of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and for the Honorable David H. Souter of the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Mr. Gruenstein may be reached by phone at 212-474-1080 or by email at

John D. Buretta is a partner in Cravath’s Litigation Department. His practice focuses on advising corporations, board members and senior executives with respect to internal investigations, criminal defense and regulatory compliance, including matters related to the FCPA, antitrust, fraud, insider trading, money laundering, OFAC and export controls.

His recent representations include advising a Fortune 20 company on FCPA matters, a board member of a Fortune Global 100 bank on OFAC matters, a FTSE 100 company on criminal antitrust matters and a global company on export control matters.

Mr. Buretta first joined Cravath in 1996 where he was trained as a litigation associate working on private disputes involving securities fraud and complex commercial litigation. Following a one-year clerkship with Hon. Peter K. Leisure of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, Mr. Buretta returned to the Firm in 1999. He left the Firm in 2002 and served for over ten years in the Department of Justice.

Mr. Buretta completed his time at the DOJ as the number-two ranking official in the Criminal Division as Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General and Chief of Staff from February 2013 to October 2013. In this role, he oversaw nearly 600 prosecutors on complex matters involving corporate fraud, FCPA, insider trading, health care fraud, money laundering, IEEPA, asset forfeiture, cybercrime, intellectual property, public corruption and other criminal investigations.

From 2011 to February 2013, Mr. Buretta served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General (DAAG), the third-highest ranking position in the Criminal Division. In this position, he represented the Department before Congress and the Sentencing Commission with regard to the Department’s fraud enforcement efforts, and oversaw the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section, among others, including the Fraud Section’s FCPA Unit. Mr. Buretta supervised the preparation of the DOJ and SEC’s Resource Guide to the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, issued in November 2012. In 2011, Mr. Buretta was appointed Director of the Deepwater Horizon Task Force, a leadership position he continued to fill while serving as DAAG.

Prior to joining the Criminal Division, Mr. Buretta served for eight years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, and was Chief of the Office’s Organized Crime and Racketeering Section from 2008 to 2011. He served as the prosecutor in ten trials during this time.

In 2014, Ethisphere Institute named Mr. Buretta a “Top Gun” in its list of “Attorneys Who Matter.”

Mr. Buretta was born in St. Louis, Missouri, and grew up in Fresno, California. He received his B.A. in 1993 from the University of California at Berkeley. In 1996 he received his J.D. cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center, where he earned the Edward Allen Tamm Award and was Editor-in-Chief of the Georgetown Law Journal’s Annual Review of Criminal Procedure. He rejoined Cravath in November 2013.


J.D. Georgetown University Law Center, 1996, cum laude

University of California at Berkeley, 1993


Hon. Peter K. Leisure, U.S.D.C. for the Southern District of New York


Citizens Budget Commission

  • Board of Trustees
Professional Recognition

Ethisphere Institute’s “Attorneys Who Matter”
  • Top Gun (2014)
Attorney General’s Award for Distinguished Service, 2008

Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Service, 2013

Charles E. Rose Award, Eastern District of New York Association, 2011

FBI Director’s Award for Excellence, 2013

Prosecutor of the Year, Federal Law Enforcement Foundation, 2008

United States Attorney’s Award for Management Excellence, 2009