Several key developments have increased the risk both of investigatory action and of prosecution by the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in recent years.
The Bribery Act 2010 has clarified and massively extended the SFO’s remit regarding bribery and corruption cases. The recent introduction of Deferred Prosecution Agreements has provided it with a tool to demand and enforce corporate cooperation. Meanwhile, under new leadership, the SFO has won a series of high-profile prosecutions after years of apparent ineffectiveness.
We have been involved in all the major recent and current SFO investigations for serious fraud, benchmark and LIBOR fixing, and bribery and corruption. We have acted in cases both in the UK and across multiple jurisdictions including Rolls Royce, Macmillan, Balfour Beatty, ENRC, HP/Autonomy and Tescos.
Our diverse and extensive experience has seen us not only acting for companies, banks, hedge funds and insurance firms, but also advising their legal and compliance teams.
We also have a strong history of acting for executives, accountants, witnesses and even other lawyers caught up in SFO investigations. We have an excellent track record in negotiating for cases to be dropped before reaching court.
Once a serious fraud is suspected, and sometimes even before the SFO begin an investigation, a company may order its own internal investigation. This can often result in individual employees becoming embroiled in the investigation and coming to the attention of the SFO.
As the interests of the individual may conflict with those of the company, it is critical that they receive expert advice at the earliest possible stage.