Martin Partington: Spotlight on the Justice System

Keeping the English Legal System under review

First deferred prosecution agreement announced

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Deferred prosecution agreements enable corporations to avoid prosecution for alleged criminal offences by agreeing to cooperate with investigators. They are permitted, in the UK, as a result of provisions in the Crime and Courts Act, 2013.

The first such agreement was announced on 30 November 2015. The press release from the Serious Fraud Office states:

The Serious Fraud Office’s first application for a Deferred Prosecution Agreement was today approved by Lord Justice Leveson at Southwark Crown Court, sitting at the Royal Courts of Justice.

The counterparty to the DPA, Standard Bank Plc (now  known as ICBC Standard Bank Plc) (“Standard Bank”), was the subject of an indictment alleging failure to prevent bribery contrary to section 7 of the Bribery Act 2010. This indictment, pursuant to DPA proceedings, was immediately suspended. This was also the first use of section 7 of the Bribery Act 2010 by any prosecutor.

As a result of the DPA, Standard Bank will pay financial orders of US$25.2 million and will be required to pay the Government of Tanzania a further US$7 million in compensation. The bank has also agreed to pay the SFO’s reasonable costs of £330,000 in relation to the investigation and subsequent resolution of the DPA.

In addition to the financial penalty that has been imposed, Standard Bank has agreed to continue to cooperate fully with the SFO and to be subject to an independent review of its existing anti-bribery and corruption controls, policies and procedures regarding compliance with the Bribery Act 2010 and other applicable anti-corruption laws. It is required to implement recommendations of the independent reviewer (Price Waterhouse Coopers LLP).

Further details are at https://www.sfo.gov.uk/press-room/latest-press-releases/press-releases-2015/sfo-agrees-first-uk-dpa-with-standard-bank.aspx

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Written by lwtmp

December 13, 2015 at 12:13 pm

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