United Kingdom

Topic: Investigations and enforcement

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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

FCA publishes its Anti-money Laundering Annual Report emphasising the use of ‘dual track’ enforcement

On 9 July 2019, the FCA published its Anti-money Laundering (AML) Annual Report for 2018/2019. The report echoes Mark Steward’s comments in a speech earlier this year in relation to the FCA’s increasing focus on criminal investigations for money laundering. The newly published Report states that ‘some’ of the FCA’s current AML investigations are now … Continue Reading

Court approves first-of-its kind “Group” DPA: five key points

On 4 July 2019, the UK’s fifth Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) was approved. The DPA is between the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and Serco Geografix Limited (SGL), a subsidiary of Serco Group PLC, and relates to fraud and false accounting offences. The offences relate to a scheme to dishonestly mislead the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) … Continue Reading

High Court’s judgment provides insight on how banks deal with suspicions of money laundering activities

On 8 July 2019, in the case of N v the Royal Bank of Scotland plc, the High Court (the Court) handed down a judgment which provides guidance on how banks respond to alleged money laundering activities. N, an authorised payment institution, issued proceedings for an interim mandatory injunction against the bank after it decided … Continue Reading

UK Government releases final Report on Independent Review of the Modern Slavery Act 2015

On 22 May 2019, the UK Government presented to Parliament its final Report following the conclusion of the Independent Review of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 (the “Act”). The Independent Review was launched in July 2018 by Frank Field MP, Maria Miller MP and Baroness Butler-Sloss. The Review focused on the following four areas relevant … Continue Reading

First-Tier Tax Tribunal held that third party notices have extra-territorial effect

The First-Tier Tax Tribunal (FTT) has recently held that HMRC can issue third party information notices to non-UK residents under paragraph 2 of Schedule 36 to the Finance Act 2008 (Schedule 36). The FTT in Mr and Mrs PQ v HMRC[1] held that the residency status of individuals will not in itself determine HMRC’s ability … Continue Reading

UK Law Commission calls for money laundering guidance in relation to transactions involving the legal cannabis industry

The Law Commission has today published its report  on the SARs regime following its consultation paper. Amongst wide-ranging recommendations to improve the regime, it has recommended that the government consider the need for guidance in relation to transactions involving the legal cannabis industry in Canada and elsewhere. Such guidance would certainly be useful to the … Continue Reading

FCA publishes Decision Notices concerning the market disclosure and related conduct of a premium listed issuer, its CEO and Finance Director

The FCA has decided to fine a premium listed issuer, Cathay International Holdings Limited (Cathay) £411,000 for a number of breaches of the Listing Principles and the Disclosure and Transparency Rules.  In addition, the FCA has decided to fine Cathay’s CEO £214,300 for being knowingly concerned in those breaches and its Finance Director £40,200 for … Continue Reading

Hope for investors in London Capital & Finance as FSCS continues to explore whether there are grounds for compensation

London Capital & Finance (LC&F), which collapsed in January 2019, was authorised by the FCA in relation to its promotional activities. However, the actual sale of mini-bonds by LC&F was not a regulated activity and so not typically protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), which has called into question the scope of protection … Continue Reading

London Stock Exchange announces public censure and £300,000 fine for a PLC for AIM Rule breaches

On 30 May 2019, the London Stock Exchange (the Exchange) announced a public censure and £300,000 fine for a PLC in relation to breaches of a number of AIM Rules for Companies (AIM Rules) arising from a variety of failings including misleading announcements, non-disclosure of related party transactions and inadequate board level challenge.  The fine … Continue Reading