SFO updates on DPAs

David Green has updated on SFO’s work, including speaking about the 2 DPAs now concluded. He said more are in the pipeline. He noted the speed with which the Standard Bank DPA was concluded as opposed to the Sweett Group prosecution. He noted that in the Standard Bank case there was an emphasis on the nature of the offending (a single, serious, failure to prevent bribery), the co-operation, the bank’s previous record, and the change in ownership that made the current organisation different from the offending one. The XYZ case was an eight year course of systemic bribery, and the considerations augmented by SFO wanting to incentivise self reporting. XYZ could not afford to pay much towards a penalty and its innocent US parent paid £6.2m to make the amount up to the total profits from the corrupt contracts. The judge said it was important to send a clear message that a company’s shareholders, customers and employees are better served by self reporting and putting in place effective compliance structures – and that when it does tis, the openness must be rewarded and seen to be worthwhile. There are more DPAs in the pipeline. His speech also, again, supported introducing a “failure to prevent economic crime offence” – in support, he cited that the SFO had been unable to touch Tom Hayes’ employer because of the current “identification” principle that meant it would have needed to identify the controlling mind before prosecuting.


Emma Radmore