A comprehensive New Penal Code came into force in Vietnam on 1 January 2018. This covers a wide range of crimes, including bribery and related offences. The New Penal Code substantially expands the range of offences, including regulating bribery within the private sector and introducing corporate criminal liability for tax evasion and money laundering. The revisions bring Vietnam’s domestic regime more in line with international laws. Continue reading

Potential reform of corporate criminal liability for economic crime

On 13 January 2017 the Ministry of Justice ("MoJ") published a call for evidence ("CfE") regarding potential reform of the law concerning corporate criminal liability in respect of economic crime. This publication is the latest development concerning a potential new offence of failure to prevent economic crime, which was first announced by David Cameron in May 2016.

The purpose of the CfE is to enable the MoJ to obtain evidence as to whether reform of the law of corporate criminal liability is required, and if so, what form this should take.  If the government determines that reform is required following the CfE then the next stage will be a full consultation on a detailed proposal and draft legislation – likely to take place sometime in the summer of 2017.  The changes that may result from this process have the potential to be very significant for corporates, and the fact that there will be full consultation and scrutiny of the proposals is welcome, including the opportunity to engage at this early stage by responding to the CfE.

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New UK criminal offences of failure to prevent facilitation of tax evasion

In our October 2016 briefing, we reported on the publication of the Criminal Finances Bill 2016–17. The Bill introduces a range of new measures to fight financial crime, of which one of the most important and far-reaching is the introduction of new offences of failure to prevent the facilitation of tax evasion. The offences are modelled on the so-called "corporate offence" of "failure to prevent bribery" in the Bribery Act 2010 and renders corporate bodies liable, in certain circumstances, for the acts of their "associated persons", subject only to a defence relating to having in place reasonable prevention procedures designed to prevent them from facilitating tax evasion.

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Serious Fraud Office secures second Deferred Prosecution Agreement

London’s Southwark Crown Court recently approved only the second Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) since the introduction of DPAs in 2014. Herbert Smith Freehills' London Corporate Crime and Investigations team negotiated the first DPA with the SFO, which was concluded in November 2015. The recent announcement of the UK’s second DPA indicates that DPAs are likely to be an important tool in the SFO’s armoury as it pursues corporates alleged to have committed economic or financial crimes.

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