News & what's on - Written by on Sunday, December 18, 2011 4:35 - 0 Comments

New SFO director: My word is my bond, what the future holds & a word of caution.

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On Friday the UK Attorney General Dominic Grieve announced the appointment of the new Director of the Serious Fraud Office, David Green CB QC.

David Green is a respected  and effective prosecutor who successfully transformed an underperforming Inland Revenue prosecution track record on his appointment as a Director of RCPO (Revenue and Customs Prosecution Office) and leading the same team in a merged agency headed by the UK Director of Public Prosecutions, Keir Starmer.

He returned to the criminal bar in April this year practicing from 6 Kings Bench Walk (where contributor to Zoe Jacob hails from).

The appointment of a former prosecuting barrister follows in the footsteps of the appointment of the current Director of the SFO, Richard Alderman, who was also appointed to the role after holding a number of senior roles in the Inland Revenue/HM Revenue and Customs.

Mr. Green’s appointment has been welcomed by lawyers practicing in the field.

In a press release issued by the Attorney General’s Office Friday, Mr Green said:

“The SFO is here to stay, and I am delighted to accept the Attorney’s offer of a four year contract as Director.

“The SFO harnesses all the specialist skills needed to tackle serious and complex fraud and bribery under one roof. Its cases have a high profile and a major public interest element. It is recognised as a major national and international agency and brand.

“Importantly, it will contribute to our economic recovery by working to ensure a level playing field in the markets and underpinning the maxim ‘my word is my bond’. Over the next few years, the SFO will play a crucial role in the developing anti fraud strategy”.

The new SFO Director will certainly have his own views about the future direction and emphasis of the SFO.

The statement he has already made includes the theme of working to ensure a level playing field in the markets.  This is one with which we are familiar from the current Director, Richard Alderman, who has repeatedly said that a top priority for the SFO is the investigation and prosecution of overseas companies who disadvantage UK PLC using unethical means.

The maxim “My Word is my Bond” (“Dictum Meum Pactum”)  is also the motto of the London Stock Exchange where trades were once made with no exchange of documents and no written pledges being given.

A word of caution.  My Word is My Bond will not meet the Adequate Prcocedures defence test under Section 7 of the Bribery Act.

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