All you need to know about self reporting, Bribery Act & Proceeds of Crime - Written by on Wednesday, July 13, 2011 4:46 - 0 Comments

Why no more money for the SFO isn’t the whole story

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We knew it anyway but in this exchange in the House of Commons last week between Hugh Bayley MP and Edward Garnier MP (Solicitor General) the Solicitor General confirms that the SFO will not be given additional resources to deal with the Bribery Act.

As we have written before the limited SFO budget is not the whole story.

The SFO is anticipating (and hoping) that whistleblowing and self reporting will swell its coffers and that in many cases companies will investigate themselves and settle with the SFO – following a US model of enforcement – meaning that less funding would be required in SFO cases.

The present Director of the SFO has said on numerous occasions that the SFO objective is to ensure that the victims of overseas corruption obtain the benefits of monies confiscated through UK proceedings.

However it is worth keeping in mind that the framework allows the SFO, as investigator & prosecutor, to retain 37.5% of any monies confiscated through the so-called “incentive scheme” which is why we described the Bribery Act, back in January, as a cash cow.

Of equal interest in the exchange last week is the government endorsement of the SFO’s approach (unusual for an investigator & prosecutor) of advising and supporting business to ensure that they comply with the Bribery Act.

The Q & A in full:

“To ask the Attorney-General what additional resources he plans to make available to the Serious Fraud Office to enable it to (a) train its staff, (b) advise businesses and (c) fulfil its responsibilities to investigate and prosecute cases under the Bribery Act 2010.

Edward Garnier (Solicitor General)

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has made comprehensive plans to ensure that they will meet all the requirements of the new Bribery Act within their current resource plans.

The SFO will continue with their detailed training for their staff with regards to the Bribery Act.

So far staff from the SFO have attended over 100 events and provided advice to many businesses and their advisors on the impact of the Bribery Act. The SFO will continue to advise and support businesses to ensure they are able to comply with the Bribery Act.”

Image © Crown Copyright 2011

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