SFO Secures Two Further DPAs

On 19 July 2021, the High Court approved two separate deferred prosecution agreements (the “DPAs”) between the UK Serious Fraud Office (“SFO”) and two UK-based companies (the “Companies”) for active participation in, and failure to prevent, bribery pursuant to sections 1 and 7 of the Bribery Act 2010 (read the SFO press release here). Continue reading

Ten Not Out! – SFO Secures Its Tenth DPA (Amec Foster Wheeler Energy Ltd)

On 1 July 2021, coincidentally the tenth anniversary of the UK’s Bribery Act coming into force, the UK’s tenth deferred prosecution agreement (“DPA”) was approved between the UK Serious Fraud Office (“SFO”) and Amec Foster Wheeler Energy Limited (“AFWEL”), a UK-based global engineering company (read the SFO press release here). This concludes the SFO’s four-year investigation of the legacy Foster Wheeler and Amec Foster Wheeler businesses. The DPA was previously agreed in principle at a private hearing held on 25 June 2021 before Lord Justice Edis, sitting at the Royal Courts of Justice (see details of the private hearing here). Continue reading

UK and EU impose new sanctions in response to Belarus’ forced diversion of a Ryanair flight

On Monday 21 June 2021 the governments of the United Kingdom, the European Union, Canada and the United States made a joint statement announcing co-ordinated new sanctions on Belarus. The new sanctions were imposed in response to the forced diversion of a Ryanair flight to Minsk, Belarus on 23 May 2021 and the subsequent arrest of opposition journalist Raman Pratasevich, and his companion Sofia Sapega, and to ongoing concerns about the Belarusian regime’s attacks on human rights and the suppression of democracy under its president Alexander Lukashenko. Continue reading

CPS updates its approach to prosecutions for failure to report money laundering

The Crown Prosecution Service (“CPS“) published its revised Money Laundering Offences Legal Guidance for prosecutors (the “Guidance“) on 2 June 2021. The main changes to the Guidance pertain to section 330 of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 (“POCA“) which creates the offence of ‘failure to disclose’ when a person knows or suspects, or has reasonable grounds to knowing or suspecting, that another person is engaged in money laundering. Continue reading

Law Commission discussion paper on reform of corporate criminal liability and launch event: when should companies be prosecuted for the acts of employees and third parties?

On 9 June 2021, the HSF London Corporate Crime and Investigations (“CCI”) team hosted the launch event for the Law Commission’s consultation on what (if any) reform should be proposed to HM Government in relation to the law on corporate criminal liability in England and Wales. This was the first in a series of Law Commission discussion events relating to this topic. Continue reading

New Commission opinion on EU sanctions and “making available”: the impact of a non-sanctioned company and its subsidiaries of having a Designated Person director

On 8 June 2021, the European Commission published an opinion on Article 2(2) of Council Regulation (EU) No 269/2014 of 17 March 2014 (the “Regulation”). The Regulation imposes an asset freeze on certain Russian individuals and entities in response to the situation in Ukraine. Article 2(2) contains the standard EU asset freeze wording providing that “no funds or economic resources shall be made available, directly or indirectly, to or for the benefit of” the designated persons listed in Annex I to the Regulation. Continue reading

The collapse of the SFO’s prosecution of former Serco executives: lessons for corporates

On 26 April 2021, the prosecution by the Serious Fraud Office (the “SFO“) of fraud charges against two former directors of Serco Geografix Limited (“Serco“) collapsed. The SFO offered no evidence against the defendants, and the presiding judge directed the jury to return verdicts of not guilty. This happened after it became apparent that the SFO had failed to disclose to the defendants certain relevant materials, rendering it unsafe for the prosecution to proceed. The SFO’s statement on the matter confirmed that it was “considering how best to undertake an assessment to prevent this from happening in the future”. Continue reading