United Kingdom

Topic: Investigations and enforcement

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FCA confirms speculative mini-bond mass-marketing ban

On 10 December 2020, the FCA published Policy Statement 20/15: High-risk investments: Marketing speculative illiquid securities (including speculative mini-bonds) to retail investors (PS20/15). In PS20/15 the FCA confirms that from 1 January 2021 there will be a permanent ban on the mass-marketing of speculative illiquid securities – including speculative mini-bonds – to retail investors. A … Continue Reading

Interim funding for APP scam victim compensation to continue to 30 June 2021

On 9 December 2020, UK Finance issued a press release stating that a group of seven signatories to the voluntary Authorised Push Payment (APP) Contingent Reimbursement Code have agreed to extend until 30 June 2021 the interim funding to compensate eligible victims of APP scams where the customer, sending and recipient banks have met the … Continue Reading

NCA publishes 2020 SARs Annual Report highlighting 81% increase in requests for a defence against money laundering

On 19 November 2020, the National Crime Agency’s (NCA) UK Financial Intelligence Unit (UKFIU) published their 2020 Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) Annual Report. The Report provides that: Between April 2019 and March 2020, the UKFIU received a record number of SARs: 573,085 SARs were submitted, which is almost a 20% increase on the previous year. … Continue Reading

SFO recovers £1.2 million from London property connected with Brazilian bribery

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has announced that it has secured almost £1.2 million from Julio Faerman, owner of a luxury London flat which the SFO suspected to have been partly purchased with the proceeds of his criminal conduct in Brazil. According to the SFO’s press release, during ‘Operation Car Wash’, the investigation by Brazilian … Continue Reading

Heightened risk of market abuse in a remote working context: another warning from the FCA

The resurgence of COVID-19 in the UK and a corresponding change in government guidance around remote working has caused many firms to rethink plans for a gradual return to the office in the near term.   Earlier this year we wrote about the FCA’s focus on the heightened risk of market abuse in a remote working … Continue Reading

SFO Guidance on Deferred Prosecution Agreements: what’s new?

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) last Friday published its first specific guidance on DPAs (the Guidance). Lisa Osofsky, Director of the Serious Fraud Office, said that ‘publishing this guidance will provide further transparency on what we expect from companies looking to co-operate with us’. Inevitably, the new Guidance remains high-level with little detail on the … Continue Reading

CMA and SFO to join forces on cartel cases

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) enabling the two regulators to investigate criminal cartel offences, either jointly or independently. The criminal cartel offence under English law was enshrined in the Enterprise Act 2002, which criminalised the most serious and damaging forms of … Continue Reading

SFO publishes a chapter from its handbook offering guidance on DPAs

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) on Friday published a chapter from its handbook, which offers “comprehensive guidance” on Deferred Prosecution Agreements (DPAs). This is the first set of guidance specific to the SFO, and sets out how the agency will approach its use of DPAs and engage with companies where a DPA “is a prospective … Continue Reading

NCA emphasises the importance of SARs in combatting modern slavery and provides pointers on information that should be included

In the latest episode of the UK Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) podcast, panellists from the FIU and the National Crime Agency (NCA) discuss the unique importance of Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) in combatting modern slavery and human trafficking – and how to make these SARs more helpful. SARs are essential in identifying potential modern slavery … Continue Reading

Legal Professional Privilege in Investigations: Two New High Court Decisions

The High Court recently handed down two notable rulings that impact on the application of legal professional privilege to investigations (see here for a previous article on privilege in investigations): In A v B and another[1] (see further details below), the court held that it is for auditors – and not their audit client – … Continue Reading

Operational resilience and key learnings from operational incidents across the financial services industry

Operational incidents show no signs of abating: in recent years, there have been a number of high profile cyber-attacks by third parties, as well as IT incidents such as those resulting from system updates and migrations. Certain of these have attracted regulatory attention and in this final part of our three part series on operational … Continue Reading

FCA confirms that its investigation into London Capital and Finance is to be further extended

Following publication of a letter dated 21 August between Dame Elizabeth Gloster and Charles Randell, FCA Chair, about the investigation into the FCA’s regulation of London Capital & Finance plc (LC&F), the FCA has confirmed that the revised date for the completion of the investigatory report has moved from 30 September 2020 to 23 November … Continue Reading

SFO receives approval for DPA with G4S Care & Justice (UK) Limited

The UK’s eighth deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) has been approved in relation to the UK Serious Fraud Office’s (SFO) investigation into G4S Care & Justice (UK) Ltd (G4S). The SFO’s investigation into G4S began in 2013 in relation to G4S’s provision of electronic monitoring services for the Ministry of Justice (MoJ)  between 2005 and 2013, … Continue Reading

OFSI publishes financial sanctions compliance guidance for the maritime shipping sector

In July 2020, the UK Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI) published guidance for entities and individuals operating within the maritime shipping sector. The size and scale of the UK shipping sector is large and thus may be particularly susceptible to criminals seeking to deploy tactics to confuse or conceal the identities of vessels, cargo, … Continue Reading

Enforcement Update – vulnerable customers, AML and market disclosures

After a relatively quiet start to the year on the enforcement front, the FCA published three notable Final Notices in June 2020. All relate to areas which have been a focus for the FCA for some time: the fair treatment of customers experiencing financial difficulty (especially important in light of Covid-19); AML controls; and ensuring … Continue Reading

UK Finance Paper on Cyber Incident Management

On 1 July 2020, UK Finance, which represents over 250 firms across the banking and finance industry, published a paper on managing cyber incidents, designed to assist firms in thinking about their response plans. The paper emphasises the importance of firms being able to action an effective response to a cyber-attack and key takeaways include: … Continue Reading

Ghosh laid to rest: Court of Appeal confirms that the objective test for dishonesty applies in criminal law, rather than the problematic Ghosh test

 On 30 April 2020, the Court of Appeal handed down a judgment confirming that the test for dishonesty in criminal law is that set out by the Supreme Court in Ivey v Genting Casinos, as opposed to the much criticised Ghosh test. In practical terms, this decision means that it should prove easier to prove … Continue Reading

Triaging, scoping and managing investigations: making difficult decisions

We have set out below ten top tips on triaging, scoping and managing investigations. These points focus on the difficult decisions that are faced during the course of an investigation in relation to what you are trying to achieve, how best to investigate and when to stop. Fundamentally, the purpose of an investigation has to … Continue Reading

NCA loses Unexplained Wealth Order: High Court overturns UWOs against members of the former Kazakh president’s family

Last week, the National Crime Agency (NCA) saw its Unexplained Wealth Orders (UWOs) against the daughter and grandson of a former president of Kazakhstan overturned by the High Court. UWOs are an extension to prosecutors’ powers which were introduced by the Criminal Finances Act 2017. They require a person to disclose to the NCA details of how … Continue Reading

Airbus’ Sky High Settlement – Focus on Global Reach and Collaboration in Anti-Corruption Prosecutions

On January 31, 2020, France, the United Kingdom, and the United States announced a settlement with Airbus SE (“Airbus”), the French aircraft manufacturer, in relation to bribery allegations and, in the US and France, export controls violations. The combined penalties total $3.9 billion, which is the largest anti-corruption settlement in history. The settlement offers insight … Continue Reading

Airbus’ $4 billion settlement – Key takeaways for business in the Middle East

Airbus’ record US$4 billion (AED 14.6 billion / 15 billion Saudi Riyal) global settlement with the US Department of Justice (DOJ), France’s parquet national financier (PNF), and the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) for bribery and related offences has dominated the headlines over the past week. The investigation into Airbus uncovered bribery and attempted bribery … Continue Reading

SFO’s Guidance on Evaluating a Compliance Programme: a speed-read

On 17 January 2020 the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) issued guidance on “Evaluating a Compliance Programme” (the Guidance). The Guidance provides a helpful summary of the points at which a compliance programme will be assessed by the SFO and by what means it will be assessed (including document requests and interviews). The Guidance emphasises the … Continue Reading

Güralp DPA announced after employees acquitted of bribery offences

On 20 December 2019 it was announced that Güralp Systems Ltd (Güralp) had entered into a £2m Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) with the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in October 2019 in relation to bribery offences. Reporting restrictions on the DPA have been lifted following the acquittal between 18 and 20 December 2019 of three Güralp … Continue Reading

Regulatory Enforcement and Sanctions Trends 2019

In this on-demand webinar, members of our Regulation and Investigations team in London explore regulatory and sanctions trends that emerged throughout 2019 as well as likely developments for the upcoming year based on recent enforcement cases and forward-looking statements from the regulators. To access the webinar, please click the below link and enter your details … Continue Reading