International

Dawn raids, searches & media enquiries our top 5 tips and what they have in common with fires.

The SFO’s announcement last week of it’s coordinated raids in Amsterdam, Belgium and the UK at the end of April in connection with a joint investigation into biodiesel trading serves as a reminder. While the possibility of a search is an outlier, so is a fire.  To deal with the unlikely event of a fire, fire drills, knowing who to call and what to do, are common place. We recommend that the possibility of a search is treated in the same way with an emphasis on the practicalities. With this in mind we thought we’d share our top five tips and our recommendation that the unlikely events of searches and fires are treated similarly.  And.  Keep in mind that in a fire the fire warden is important.  In a raid the first contact with the police will be reception, so we strongly recommend that they know what to do as part and parcel ...

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Sectors

M&A deal exposes bribery. No action taken against company while vendor pays heavy price and receives lengthy jail term.

In a case that demonstrates the perils of selling a business with an illicit contract on 30 May 2019 the SFO issued a press release announcing that Carol Ann Hodson, the former director and owner of a company named ALCA Fasteners Ltd (ALCA), pleaded guilty to paying bribes amounting to £300,000 in order to secure contracts worth £12m. The bribes were paid to purchasing manager1 of a German company over the course of five years and, according to a Serious Fraud Office (SFO) press release, the bribes were paid monthly in cash instalments and on one occasion, Ms Hodson sent jewelry in a brown envelope to the purchasing manager. While the bribery scheme itself may not be noteworthy what is is first, the fact it was revealed following the sale of the business when the buyers picked it up and more importantly second, the pragmatic approach taken by the SFO in respect of the ...

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News & what’s on

SFO Raid numbers don’t tell complete story as new Director lays foundations for years ahead

Figures provided by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) show a reduction in their use of both property raids and powers under Section 2 of the Criminal Justice Act to compel individuals to answer questions or produce documents. In a response to a Freedom of Information request the SFO confirmed that between 1 April 2018 and 31 March 2019 it carried out 21 property raids for the purposes of gathering evidence, a decline on the SFO’s previous financial year when over 30 were carried out. While at first blush, it looks as though the SFO has stalled it is premature to judge. New director, Lisa Osofsky, is beginning to make transformative changes which will make the agency a force to be reckoned with, Ms. Osofsky’s background as a former US prosecutor means she thinks very differently from previous incumbents. She has made no secret that one of the cornerstones of her plans for the ...

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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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Your Questions: Answered

I have received a Section 2 Notice from the Serious Fraud Office, what should I do? Do you have any tips?

I have received a Section 2 Notice from he Serious Fraud Office.  What is it and what should I do? Are there any tips for how I should deal with one? With the so-called criminalisation of corporate law and increasingly U.S.-approach adopted by UK law enforcement, it is more likely that a corporation may one day receive a communication from the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO).  Frequently, a communication from the SFO will come in the shape of the receipt of a Section 2/2A Notice.  Recent figures for the last 12 months show that the SFO issued over 800 last year. What is a Section 2/Section 2A Notice? Broadly speaking, Section 2/2A Notices are used by the SFO to compel the provision of information and documents (including digital material) from witnesses and potential suspects relating to its investigations.  The name Section 2 is taken from the legislation, the Criminal Justice Act 1987, which ...

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