25 April 2013
Serious Fraud Office Confirms Revised Approach to Civil Recovery
In line with the revised polices on self-reporting, facilitation payments and business expenditure (such as hospitality) issued by the Serious Fraud Office in October 2012, the agency has recently (17 April 2013) restated its position on civil recovery proceedings that are contained in Part V of the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
This emphasises that the primary role of the SFO is to prosecute criminal conduct in circumstances where there is sufficient evidence to do so and where prosecution is in the public interest.
Although civil recovery proceedings, which do not result in a criminal prosecution or convictions, are a tool that remains available to the SFO, it appears clear that such proceedings will be utilised less frequently than in the past and will not be considered appropriate if a full prosecution could otherwise be brought.
Companies and senior executives will need carefully to consider this position with their professional advisors when deciding whether or not to self-report potential irregularities.