Supreme Court hands down judgment in SFO’s case concerning the extraterritoriality of section 2 powers – Appeal of KBR is allowed

The Supreme Court has today handed down judgment in the case of R (on the application of KBR, Inc) (Appellant) v Director of the Serious Fraud Office (Respondent) [2021] UKSC 2 concerning whether the Serious Fraud Office (“SFO”) can require a foreign company to produce documents held overseas, pursuant to its investigation powers under section 2(3) of the Criminal Justice Act 1987 (“CJA”). Continue reading

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

UK Supreme Court to decide on SFO’s extraterritorial powers

Two years have passed since the High Court decision in R (On The Application Of KBR Inc) v The Director of the Serious Fraud Office [2018] EWHC 2368 (Admin) (“KBR”) (see our summary of the decision here). Yesterday, the Supreme Court heard KBR’s appeal (“Appeal”) against that ruling, which had determined that the Serious Fraud Office (“SFO”) can require a foreign company to produce documents held overseas, pursuant to section 2(3) of the Criminal Justice Act 1987 (“CJA”). Lord Pannick QC represented KBR Inc and Sir James Eadie QC represented the SFO. 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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SFO secures sixth DPA

On 20 December 2019 reporting restrictions were lifted in respect of a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (“DPA”) agreed between the Serious Fraud Office (“SFO”) and Guralp Systems Ltd (“GSL”). Under the DPA, which was approved in October 2019, GSL agreed to disgorge relevant profit of £2,069,861 in relation to charges of conspiracy to make corrupt payments and failure to prevent bribery by its employees, both in respect of South Korean business. Three GSL personnel, who were also charged with conspiracy to make corrupt payments, were subsequently acquitted in December. GSL also agreed to continue to cooperate with the SFO and to maintain and keep its (already enhanced) Anti-Bribery and Corruption (“ABC”) procedures under review.

Following the introduction of DPAs in the UK in 2014 and the conclusion of the first DPA with the SFO in November 2015, the GSL DPA is the sixth DPA and reiterates the importance placed by the SFO on the use of DPAs in tackling financial crime. In this briefing, we provide an overview of the GSL DPA.

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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.