Bribery Act & Proceeds of Crime, Internal investigations - Written by Barry & Richard on Monday, September 3, 2012 2:53 - 2 Comments
SFO Director David Green CB QC: on ongoing Bribery Act investigations – sage words for any investigation.
Sage words from the new Director quoted recently in the Daily Mail. This statement is true both in the context of the SFO’s own investigations and in the context of internal investigations conducted by in-house or external advisers.
Stories of internal investigations with costs which run into hundreds of millions of dollars or more are truly mind boggling.
The FCPA Professor recently noted that, for example, in the case of the Avon Products investigation costs, after three years, are now in the region of US$ 250 million. The FCPA Professor calculated that:
“Avon has spent approximately $225,000 per day on its FCPA inquiry.”
A key element of any investigation must be proportionality.
The corporate, the advisers and the enforcement agencies need to know when to stop. There comes a point when the inevitable question “Where else?” should be replaced by: “Enough”.
Speed will be critical. On any investigation it is always possible to do more.
Balancing the arguments weighing in favour of a broad scope in 2. it is critical to ensure that the investigation can be conducted as speedily and efficiently as possible. Extended investigations can cause practical as well as regulatory problems. Stock prices can drop, loan covenants risk being broken and reporting obligations to public markets (if appropriate) need to be borne in mind.
This means that while an investigation needs to have a sufficiently broad scope it must also be focused.
We recommend setting a clear timetable (including to external counsel) for collation of documents, interviews and interim and final reports. This helps to keep focus and minimises the risk of getting side-tracked up a blind alley.”