Crime, fraud and licensing | 01 June 2012

The UK government recently published its response to last year’s consultation on the reform of the UK competition regime. One significant plan is that it will no longer be a requirement to prove ‘dishonesty’ in order to convict individuals involved in a criminal cartel. The government believes that removing the requirement to prove dishonesty will act as a deterrent and will improve enforceability.

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Crime, Fraud and licensing | 01 April 2012

The Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) 2002 imposes obligations on businesses operating in the regulated sector (for example, banks and other financial institutions) to disclose knowledge or suspicion of money laundering to the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA). Such disclosure is known as a suspicious activity report (SAR).

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Crime, fraud and licensing | 01 March 2012

With the renewed focus on the criminal law brought about by the arrival of the Bribery Act 2010, in-house counsel may be forgiven for thinking that they are fully up to date with the potential consequences of corporate involvement in illegal activity. However, as we move through 2012, the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has already taken yet another, perhaps unexpected, step that could have yet further financial consequences for those holding shares in companies that engage in unlawful conduct.

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Crime, fraud and licensing | 01 February 2012

The UK government is grappling with the most appropriate way to deal with corporate criminal liability in the context of serious fraud and corruption. Civil recovery orders can sometimes appear too lenient, but a full-blown criminal conviction (whether on the back of a negotiated plea agreement or otherwise) can lead to the complete demise of what might otherwise have been a strong, successful business. Could deferred prosecution agreements (DPAs) be the answer? Richard Alderman, the director of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) certainly seems convinced. 
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Crime, fraud and licensing | 01 December 2011

It seems that every day brings a news report of corporate wrongdoing or control failures somewhere in the world – rogue traders, corruption, fraud, tax evasion, price fixing, environmental disasters and export control issues.
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Crime, Fraud and licensing | 01 October 2011

What are you usually doing on a Monday morning? Imagine it is 8am next Monday and you receive a frantic call from your company’s MD telling you there are a number of people in his office, going through his papers. Ten minutes ago, they arrived unannounced at reception and produced a document to your receptionist. They explained that they are from the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and asked to be taken to the MD’s office immediately. What are you going to do? [Continue Reading]

Crime, Fraud and licensing | 01 September 2011

On the day that the Bribery Act 2010 (the Act) came into force, Richard Alderman, director of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO), gave an exclusive interview to the Daily Telegraph. In the interview, Mr Alderman set out his hard-line approach and highlighted the SFO’s intention to take a much stronger stance with enforcing the Act than had been expected. [Continue Reading]

Crime, Fraud and licensing | 04 July 2011

The UK government has long been pilloried for its poor efforts in tackling bribery and corruption. Its response to this is the enactment of the Bribery Act 2010 (the 2010 Act), in force from 1 July 2011. Pushing legislation through Parliament is all well and good, but the acid test of the 2010 Act, as with all pieces of legislation, will be in the enforcement of it. The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has encouraged companies to self-report wrongdoing discovered in their ranks, with the incentive that the offences committed may be dealt with by civil means. [Continue Reading]

Crime, Fraud and licensing | 01 December 2010

With the huge amount of publicity and debate surrounding bribery and corruption, in-house lawyers could be forgiven for thinking that there are no other financial and reputational risks for their companies.

This year has been all about the Bribery Act 2010, and the need to beef up anti-corruption programmes. Fraud seems to have faded into the background – even for the Serious Fraud Office (SFO). However, fraud risks are still very much a threat to every type of business – whether that be the risk of the company or its employees committing fraud, or the company being a victim of fraud at the hands of its own employees or outsiders. Compliance resources may be hard pressed at the moment but companies cannot afford to neglect their fraud prevention and detection programmes. [Continue Reading]