Opinion: New Serious Fraud Office Director Appointment reflects Americanisation of UK Corporate Crime Enforcement and represents opportunity for further harmonisation

The UK Serious Fraud Office has appointed Lisa Osofsky as the next Director of the Serious Fraud Office.  Ms. Osofsky will join the SFO on 3 September 2018. Ms. Osofsky, a former US prosecutor, exemplifies the increasing Americanisation of corporate criminal law enforcement in the UK. From the entry into force of new laws, including the UK Bribery Act and a Deferred Prosecution Agreement regime, a tougher approach on enforcement and large penalties in recent years UK corporate criminal law has copied various elements of the US toolkit as the UK catches up. Announcing the appointment the UK Attorney General’s press release said: “Lisa’s career spans public and private sector” and that “ Osofsky brings a wealth of experience to the role, with over 30 years’ experience of focussing on financial crime in both the UK and US. Lisa began her career as a federal prosecutor pursuing white collar crime ranging from benefit, defence ...


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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

Killing a corpse and a shot in the foot: Skansen Interiors

If the Skansen interiors bribery conviction is precedent for anything (and that is questionable) it may only be that you cannot make this stuff up. It has been claimed that the case stands as a lesson to companies that they must make sure their anti-bribery policies are sufficiently robust. We don’t think so. In summary, senior employees engaged in bribery.  Those bribes were uncovered by new management who self reported the bribery to the authorities. Individuals were guilty and the company was prosecuted for failure to prevent bribery. The only defence option open to the company was to argue that it had put in place Adequate Procedures to prevent bribery.  In view of this it was an unfortunate fact that it didn’t have any specific anti bribery policies or procedures. Against that backdrop it’s unsurprising the company was convicted of failing to prevent bribery. Perhaps more surprising is the decision to prosecute Skansen on its somewhat unique ...


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Bribery Act & Proceeds of Crime

Opinion: As Rolls resolution confirms DPA’s on the menu without Self Report we argue (again) for bigger discounts for companies who Self Report.

Rolls Royce DPA with the SFO is the right result. Rolls can draw a line under the matter and move on.  The SFO can be applauded for what is a very significant enforcement resolution in its favour. The SFO Press Release records serious misconduct, namely,  "...12 counts of conspiracy to corrupt, false accounting and failure to prevent bribery.... three decades and involves Rolls-Royce’s Civil Aerospace and Defence Aerospace businesses and its former Energy business and relates to the sale of aero engines, energy systems and related services. The conduct covered by the UK DPA took place across seven jurisdictions: Indonesia, Thailand, India, Russia, Nigeria, China and Malaysia." In his judgment Sir Brian Leveson recorded: "My reaction when first considering these papers was that if Rolls-Royce were not to be prosecuted in the context of such egregious criminality over decades, involving countries around the world, making truly vast corrupt payments and, consequentially, even greater profits, ...


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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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