Bribery Act & Proceeds of Crime - Written by on Sunday, October 9, 2011 23:30 - 0 Comments

Bribery Act cases already being considered for investigation by the SFO?

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Speaking in Washington last week Richard Alderman, Director of the SFO, hinted that the SFO is now actively investigating Bribery Act cases.

Spot the difference

Speaking in July Mr. Alderman had this to say:

“At the moment, the amount of resource that we commit to dealing with bribery and corruption is about £4.9 million and we have about 80 staff dealing with this area of work.  We have about 26 cases involving bribery. Clearly, at the moment all of those cases involve the pre-Bribery Act law.” [our emphasis]

Contrast this with a statement he made last week in Washington:

“…we devote a considerable amount of that resource to dealing with anti-corruption.  We have about 80 frontline staff dealing with anti-corruption with a resource for this of some $7.5 million. Our resource in the SFO is also a flexible one and we can move additional resource into anti-corruption from other areas depending upon workload.

Currently, our anti-corruption workload is dominated by pre-Bribery Act cases.  That is likely to remain for some time.  We have about 50 corruption cases (whether involving the public sector or private sector) under formal investigation or prosecution and, of course, a number of additional ones that we are looking at to see whether we should open an investigation.” [our emphasis]

With the world watching, the FSA having marked its territory with Aon and Willis and the CPS prosecuting the first Bribery Act case the SFO are under considerable pressure to be seen to mount Bribery Act investigations.

We are already seeing activity.  Last week we reported that we had been told that industry whistleblowers had complained to the SFO about incentives provided by some UK and non UK companies in a non transparent way.

The subtle shift in terminology in Washington last week appears to suggest the SFO is moving, albeit slowly.

Make no mistake.  The storm clouds are gathering.

Image © Crown Copyright 2011

 

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