On 30 October 2020, Mrs Justice May, sitting in the Crown Court in Southwark, approved the UK’s ninth deferred prosecution agreement (“DPA”) between the UK Serious Fraud Office (“SFO”) and Airline Services Limited (“ASL”) (read the SFO press release here). The investigation was only made public on 22 October 2020 after the SFO announced that a DPA was reached in principle at a private hearing held the previous day before Mrs Justice May.
Under the terms of the DPA, ASL accepted responsibility for three counts of failing to prevent one of its agents from committing bribery in order to secure three contracts for the company to refit commercial airliners for Deutsche Lufthansa AG and one of its subsidiaries (“Lufthansa”), contrary to section 7 of the UK Bribery Act 2010 (“UKBA”). ASL also accepted that, from the implementation of the UKBA to the start of 2015, it did not have in place any adequate procedures to prevent bribery.
ASL has agreed to pay a total of £2,979,685.76, consisting of a financial penalty of £1,238,714.31, disgorgement of profits representing the gain from the criminal conduct of £990,971.45, and a contribution to the SFO’s costs of £750,000. The company is also obliged to fully co-operate with the SFO and any other domestic or foreign law enforcement agency on matters relating to the indictment.
This is the third DPA approved in 2020 and the fourth approved in just over a year, following settlements agreed with Guralp Systems Limited in October 2019 (our briefing is available here), Airbus S.E. in February 2020 (our briefing is available here) and G4S Care and Justice Services (UK) Limited in July 2020 (our briefing is available here). For more recent commentary on these cases, please see the podcast that we published in late September here.
Please read our full briefing on the ASL DPA here, in which we provide an overview of the DPA and discuss some of the emerging trends relating to DPAs in the UK.