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The UK Serious Fraud Office 2020 Deferred Prosecution Agreement Guidance: Something Old and Something New

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A guest post from Gibson Dunn attorneys Sacha Harber-Kelly and Steve Melrose.

Mr. Harber-Kelly is a former prosecutor at the SFO and was appointed to lead the SFO’s engagement in the cross-governmental working group which devised the DPA legislative framework, and subsequently appointed to draft the DPA Code of Practice, which sets out how prosecutors will operate the DPA regime.

On October 23, 2020, the UK Serious Fraud Office published a new chapter from its internal Operational Handbook, which it describes as “comprehensive guidance on how we approach Deferred Prosecution Agreements (DPAs), and how we engage with companies where a DPA is a prospective outcome.”

At the time of its publication, the Director of the SFO, Lisa Osofsky, remarked, “Publishing this guidance will provide further transparency on what we expect from companies looking to co-operate with us.” Director Osofsky’s full remarks are here.

The 2020 DPA Guidance (“the Guidance”) is here.

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Potpourri

Potpourri

Agreement in Principle

As highlighted in prior posts here and here in 2016 hedge fund Och-Ziff resolved a $412 million Foreign Corrupt Practices Act enforcement action concerning improper business practices in various African countries.

As highlighted in this 2018 post, former shareholders of Canadian mining company Africo Resources Ltd. (“Claimants”) sough restitution pursuant to the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act for losses allegedly incurred as a result of Och-Ziff’s bribery of corrupt officials in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

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An In-Depth Look At The U.K. Prosecution Of Airbus

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These pages have long asserted that if a country is to have a deferred prosecution regime that the regime in the United Kingdom (which requires meaningful judicial review and approval) is far more preferable than the U.S. regime.

This is apparent when reviewing the Statement of Facts,, Deferred Prosecution Agreement and Approved Judgment relevant to the U.K. Serious Fraud Office prosecution of Airbus. (See here for a collection of the U.K. documents and see here for the prior post regarding the U.S. enforcement action). The U.K. documents provided a substantially more thorough and transparent glimpse into the underlying conduct compared to the U.S. resolution documents.

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Friday Roundup

Roundup

Scratch that trial, scrutiny alert, affirmed, follow-up, Braskem-related, and across the pond. It’s all here in the Friday roundup.

Scratch That Trial

One of the FCPA trials scheduled this Fall (see here for the prior post) involved Frank Chatburn. As highlighted here, in April 2018 Frank Roberto Chatburn Ripalda (a dual United States and Ecuadorian citizen) was criminally charged for conspiring with others for making corrupt payments to PetroEcuador officials in order to obtain and retain contracts for Galileo (described as an Ecuadorian company that provided services in the oil and gas industry) from PetroEcuador.

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Friday Roundup

Roundup

Cannabis industry, fooled me, questions abound, investigative fees and expenses, survey says, scrutiny alert, and for the reading stack.

It’s all here in the Friday roundup.

Cannabis Industry

This recent FBI public recording states: “As an increasing number of states change their marijuana legislation, the FBI is seeing a public corruption threat emerge in the expanding cannabis industry. States require licenses to grow and sell the drug—opening the possibility for public officials to become susceptible to bribes in exchange for those licenses.”

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