International

New Director of Serious Fraud Office Lays Out Approach

After less than a week on the job, Lisa Osofsky, new director of the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO), set out her approach to the role in a wide-ranging speech at the Cambridge Economic Crime Symposium. Three areas of focus stood out in her Sept. 3 speech: first, a doubling down on the increasingly U.S. approach taken by the SFO; second, co-operation nationally and internationally; and third, greater use of technology to bring cases more quickly and efficiently. An Increasingly U.S. Approach (with a UK Twist) Ms. Osofsky brings with her a wealth of experience in U.S. law enforcement and in the private sector. Speaking about her U.S. law enforcement experience, which gives a strong indication of her likely approach, Ms. Osofsky said the following: Long before Bob Mueller began investigating Trump, he was Number 3 at the U.S. DOJ, and he sent me to work the BCCI bank failure – and other ...

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Sectors

Significant jail term in Edinburgh construction works bribery case

By Tom Stocker, Partner, Corporate Crime & Investigations, Pinsent Masons LLP Yesterday, two former employees of Edinburgh Council and two directors of a construction company received significant jail sentences for bribery contrary to The Public Bodies Corrupt Practices Act 1889 (the legislation that pre-dates the Bribery Act 2010). The council employees helped award contracts to Edinburgh Action Building Contracts Ltd (ABC Ltd) and in return they received extensive hospitality including corporate seats at Hibs and Hearts football grounds, meals out and visits to lap dancing bars as well as cash.  Invoices were then inflated to cover the cost of the hospitality. The charges related to the maintenance of council buildings from 2006 to 2010. Council worker Charles Owenson was sentenced to 4 years and 4 months for accepting bribes. The sentencing Sheriff considered that, despite Mr Owenson's guilty plea, the plea-in-mitigation put forward on his behalf  demonstrated that Mr Owenson had not accepted ...

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News & what’s on

Our top 5: Predictions for 2019

What does 2019 have in store?

1.HMS SFO: Ms Osofsky Gains Her Sea Legs

In September 2018, the new Serious Fraud Office (SFO) Director Lisa Osofsky indicated various areas of focus for her tenure. Speeches given in Ms. Osofsky’s first few months have been underpinned by her eagerness to promote a proactive approach. Most recently, she indicated a desire to combat the slow pace of SFO cases by personally reviewing more than 70 cases.

She also cited the use of cooperating witnesses in the U.S. and stated that the SFO is ‘intently exploring’ their use in U.K. investigations. The use of cooperating witnesses, and in particular the granting of immunity to them in white collar cases, would be a potential game changer for the agency. White collar cases are notoriously document-heavy, and live testimony from a cooperating witness for the prosecution may effectively remove nagging doubts for a

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Bribery Act & Proceeds of Crime

From the horses mouth: Specialist Adviser to the recent Bribery Act Committee, Anne-Marie Ottaway writes…

I recently had the honour to be Specialist Advisor to the House of Lords Select Committee, which published the report of its findings following its post legislative scrutiny of the Bribery Act.  Here are my thoughts on the report. Background of the Bribery Act The Bribery Act was passed, with much fanfare, in 2010 and came into force on 1 July 2011. The Act simplified previous anti-corruption legislation dating back to 1889 and 1906 and introduced for the first time a specific corporate offence of failure to prevent bribery. Under the Act, the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) was required to publish guidance for businesses on the adequate procedures they would need to implement to have a defence to the failure to prevent offence. The Act applies to UK companies and foreign companies conducting business or part of a business in the UK. It pertains to conduct in both domestic and foreign jurisdictions and applies to ...

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Tuesday, April 9, 2019 12:20

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Having copied the US DPA we mustn't make the same US mistakes using them... I was interviewed on Radio 4 Today afte… https://t.co/DYSpTVRcDu


Your Questions: Answered

My company has entered into contracts with FIFA. Should I be doing anything?

Question My company has entered into various contracts over the years with FIFA.  I read with alarm last week the news stories about the arrests of FIFA officials in Switzerland. The US has signalled more arrests are likely and the Swiss prosecutor is also investigating. Should I be worried that my business may be drawn into the FIFA investigation and should I be doing anything now? Yours, Anon. The short answer Expect more revelations.  So far the enforcement action in the public domain focusses on the alleged bribe recipients – expect the suspected bribe payers to be targeted next and under the full glare of publicity. A head in the sand approach is never the best option. Businesses who have negotiated licencing deals etc. with FIFA would be well advised to run some basic checks (speak to a lawyer before you do to make sure the checks don’t create legal problems) to confirm their deals are not tainted. The longer ...

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