United Kingdom

Topic: Investigations and enforcement

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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

Enhanced Europe-wide protection of whistleblowers to kick off in 2021

In October 2019, the European Council formally adopted the Directive on the Protection of Persons who Report Breaches of Union Law (the EU Directive) aimed at providing enhanced protection to whistleblowers. The EU Directive will now be formally signed and published, and EU member states will have until the end of 2021 to incorporate the … Continue Reading

New publication: UK financial services reporting: Trends and enforcement

There has been a dramatic increase in regulatory reporting obligations, in step with an increase in investigations and enforcement actions. John Coley, Lisa Lee Lewis and Katie Stephen explore the risks and opportunities this creates for firms in the November 2019 issue of PLC magazine. You can access the publication on our webpage.… Continue Reading

NCA 2019 report reveals increase of over 50% in consent SARs

The National Crime Agency (NCA) has published its Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) Annual Report 2019. The report shows that the number of SARs has continued to increase; an issue that prompted the Law Commission to propose a series of reforms to the SAR regime earlier this year. There has been a 3% increase in the … Continue Reading

UK Syria sanctions: OFSI turns to enforcement in telecoms sector

On 28 October 2019, the Office of Financial Sanctions Implementation (OFSI), part of HM Treasury, announced a £146,341 fine against Telia Carrier UK Limited (Telia) for indirectly facilitating international telephone calls to SyriaTel in violation of EU asset freeze sanctions against Syria (implemented in the UK under the Syria (European Union Financial Sanctions) Regulations 2012). … Continue Reading

High Court rules on the scope of a claimant’s interest in securities required for claims against issuers under s. 90A FSMA

On 28 October 2019, the High Court gave judgment in SL Claimants v Tesco Plc [2019] EWHC 2858 (Ch). This decision provides clarification on the nature of the interest in securities required to claim against an issuer in respect of the contents or timing of certain published information under section 90A / Schedule 10A Financial … Continue Reading

ESMA announces enforcement priorities for 2019 financial statements

On 22 October 2019, the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) published a statement outlining its priorities for European enforcers to consider when examining the 2019 financial reports of listed companies. The common enforcement priorities related to 2019 IFRS financial statements include: specific issues related to IFRS 16 Leases; follow-up of specific issues related to … Continue Reading

First Data Access Agreement under the CLOUD Act signed by UK and US

On 3 October 2019, the UK and US governments signed the first bilateral Data Access Agreement (the Agreement) under the US Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act 2018 (CLOUD Act) and the UK Crime (Overseas Production Orders) Act 2019. The Agreement seeks to facilitate faster and more direct access by each country’s agencies in criminal … Continue Reading

Data privacy risks in investigations: navigating difficult waters

GDPR[1] together with increasingly stringent data protection legislation in many jurisdictions presents a major headache for companies conducting investigations[2]. There are now significant challenges in lawfully reviewing employee data and doing so requires careful consideration and management of data privacy risks (and documentation of this process). Many organisations do not adequately manage these risks when … Continue Reading

Upper Tribunal refuses to uphold FCA’s partial prohibition on former bank COO

On 16 August 2019, the Upper Tribunal published its decision about a Chief Operating Officer of the Wealth Division at a major bank (the COO). The Tribunal found that the COO had failed to act with integrity (in breach of Statement of Principle 1), but that the prohibition order imposed by the FCA was not merited. … Continue Reading

Financial Reporting Council issues its first annual enforcement review

In August, the UK’s Financial Reporting Council (FRC), a regulator with responsibility for auditors, accountants and actuaries, issued its first annual enforcement review. The review summarises the FRC’s investigatory and enforcement remit and powers, as well providing details on recent cases and the FRC’s priorities. In 2018/19, the FRC referred 15 enquiries to enforcement investigation … Continue Reading

First FCA prosecution for alleged destruction of documents

A former banker has been charged with the offence of destroying documents which he knew or suspected were relevant to an FCA investigation.  It is alleged that Mr Vishnyak deleted WhatsApp messages after he was required to provide them as part of an FCA investigation into suspected insider dealing offences.  He pleaded not guilty at … Continue Reading

The SFO publishes Cooperation Guidance: expecting too much and offering too little?

Earlier this month, the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO) published its Corporate Cooperation Guidance (the Guidance), providing a list of “good practices” it expects from companies seeking to obtain a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA). The Director of the SFO has said that the Guidance would provide “added transparency about what [companies] might expect if they … Continue Reading

Upper Tribunal dismisses application by financial advisers firm to suspend an FCA Supervisory Notice until final hearing

On 25 July 2019, the Upper Tribunal (Tax and Chancery Chamber) published a decision in respect of Sussex Independent Financial Advisers Limited (Sussex). Sussex sought to challenge a Supervisory Notice issued by the FCA which removed all of the firm’s permitted regulatory activities with effect from 8 July 2019.  It also imposed requirements restricting Sussex’s … Continue Reading

PRA speech on its approach to enforcement

On 31 July 2019, the Bank of England (BoE) published a speech given by Miles Bake (PRA Head of Legal, Enforcement & Litigation Division). In his speech, Mr Bake outlined the PRA’s approach to enforcement providing an overview of recent PRA enforcement actions and explained the enforcement department’s agenda going forward. In terms of recent … Continue Reading
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