A deep dive into DPAs: seven takeaways from the new DPA guidance in the SFO’s Operational Handbook

In October 2020 the SFO published guidance regarding Deferred Prosecution Agreements (“DPAs”) in a new chapter of its Operational Handbook. The guidance offers a practical step-by-step map to the route that the SFO, and, therefore, a target company and its advisers, will traverse where seeking to negotiate an outcome that avoids the need for prosecution. Continue reading

Airline Services Limited – “SFO Secures Third DPA of 2020”

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. Continue reading

Lisa Osofsky re-examines the priorities of the SFO at the Cambridge International Symposium on Economic Crime

On 7 September 2020, Lisa Osofsky, the Director of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), delivered a keynote address at the Cambridge International Symposium on Economic Crime. In light of Covid-19, this year’s speech was delivered virtually, via YouTube. In her speech, Ms Osofsky re-examined the four key priorities that she outlined at her first address to the Cambridge International Symposium on Economic Crime in 2018 and referred to a number of new developments which she said would affect the SFO’s future work. Continue reading

Airbus and SFO enter into UK’s largest Deferred Prosecution Agreement

On 31 January 2020, Dame Victoria Sharp, the President of the Queen’s Bench Division sitting in the Crown Court in Southwark, approved the Deferred Prosecution Agreement (“DPA”) between the UK Serious Fraud Office (“SFO”) and Airbus S.E. (“Airbus”), the ultimate parent company of the Airbus Group. Under the DPA, Airbus must pay €990,963,712 to the SFO — the largest UK DPA financial settlement to date and greater than the combined total of all previous financial settlements under UK DPAs.

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Corporate Crime & Investigations Podcast Episode 1: Deferred Prosecution Agreements

In our Corporate Crime & Investigations podcast we look to bring you timely and incisive commentary on key developments in the CC&I space.

In this inaugural episode we take a look at the Deferred Prosecution Agreements (DPAs) landscape. In particular we set in context the latest DPA agreed between the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and a subsidiary in the Serco Group of companies.

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Approval of UK’s fifth DPA concludes SFO investigation into Serco companies

On 4 July 2019, Mr Justice William Davis approved a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (“DPA“) agreed between the Serious Fraud Office (“SFO“) and Serco Geografix Ltd (“SGL“), a wholly-owned subsidiary of outsourcing company Serco Group plc (“Serco Group“). SGL has agreed to pay £22.9 million, comprising a financial penalty of £19.2m and the full amount of the SFO’s investigative costs of £3.7m. This is in addition to the £12.8m in compensation Serco paid to the Ministry of Justice as part of a £70m civil settlement in 2013.

Following the introduction of DPAs in the UK in 2014 and the conclusion of the first DPA with the SFO in November 2015, the Serco DPA is the fifth and latest in a growing body of DPA case-law and confirms the importance placed by the SFO on the use of DPAs in tackling financial crime.

In this briefing, we provide some background on DPAs generally, an overview of the Serco DPA and discuss some of the emerging themes relating to DPAs and the SFO’s approach to enforcement.

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UK: SFO enters into third and largest Deferred Prosecution Agreement

On 17 January 2017, Sir Brian Leveson QC approved the UK's third Deferred Prosecution Agreement ("DPA"), resulting in orders for disgorgement, penalties and costs exceeding £500 million. This is the largest DPA since their introduction in the UK in 2014. Herbert Smith Freehills' London Corporate Crime and Investigations team negotiated the first DPA with the Serious Fraud Office ("SFO"), which was concluded in November 2015.

This latest agreement confirms their status as an important tool for the SFO in tackling financial crime, at a time when the government is consulting on measures to increase the scope for companies to incur criminal liability (see our e-bulletins on Failure to Prevent Economic Crime and Failure to Prevent Facilitation of Tax Evasion).

In this briefing, we provide an overview of the Rolls-Royce DPA, and discuss some of the emerging themes from the growing body of DPA case-law indicating the importance of what the Judge described as Rolls-Royce's "extraordinary co-operation".

Our full briefing is available here.