03 September 2014
Serious Fraud Office set out its agenda 2014
The Director of the SFO has (in a speech to the Cambridge Symposium on Economic Crime) spelt out the SFO’s current priorities which he describes as "the top tier of fraud and bribery work".
Of particular interest he focused on:
Concentrating on the "top strata" of economic crime the SFO lower levels of fraud enforcement can be "patchy". Mr Green points to police forces having other competing priorities and believes that fraud squads "have withered on the vine". He though believes that the professional relationships built so far by the National Crime Agency's Economic Crime Command are beginning to show results.
Bribery and corruption
The SFO fraud initiative launched in 2008 commenced with the mapping and counting the problem of fraud nationally. The SFO suggests that the same should now be done with bribery and corruption, so that the scale of the problem can be identified.
Deferred prosecution agreements (DPAs)
There are current investigations that may see the first DPA deployed. Mr Green though emphasises that a DPA will only occur where a judge considers that it is in the interests of justice. In particular he stresses that the SFO will require "maximum co-operation” from a company that would otherwise be a defendant in full criminal proceedings if a DPA is to be considered.
Bribery Act 2010
Mr Green continues to advocate the amendment of section 7 of the Act to create the offence of a company failing to prevent acts of financial crime by its associated persons. He believes this will significantly increase the SFO's reach on corporate crime and he notes that the argument that appears to be gaining traction.
SFO Libor investigation
12 individuals have been charged to date with the first trial expected to commence in January 2015. The SFO has deployed 70 staff to this case
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