Business Crime Quarterly Winter 2018-19

Winter 2018

This Winter has certainly blown hot and cold, if financial crime enforcement is anything to go by. Having secured successful prosecutions in two separate bribery cases, the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (“SFO”) closed its investigations into alleged bribery in two other high-profile matters. Meanwhile French prosecutors did not mess around when seizing all the property held in France by a billionaire businessman suspected of involvement in a global money laundering scandal. New laws in Australia will introduce better protection for whistleblowers, enhance transparency around foreign government influence on the Australian political process and significantly increase penalties for corporate misconduct. Conversely, amendments to the Russian Criminal Code extend exemption from criminal liability for certain offences, balanced by an expansion in the scope of conduct which can trigger criminal liability for companies.

The ability of authorities to reach beyond their own territories when taking enforcement easures has been bolstered by developments in both the U.S. and UK. In the UK, new legislation will give law enforcement authorities greater powers to obtain access to electronic data held overseas for use in proceedings or investigations. The U.S. 10th Circuit’s approval of the “conduct-and-effects test” for federal securities laws extend their reach extra-territorially, in cases brought in the six 10th Circuit states at least, to conduct occurring outside the U.S. which had a “substantial effect” in the U.S. or upon its citizens. Separately, changes in the Department of Justice’s policies have reduced the number of individuals about whom companies in criminal cases must give information to be eligible for cooperation credit, focussing on those with substantial involvement rather than all such employees.

Closer to home, we are delighted to announce that Alison Saunders has now officially joined our Dispute Resolution Practice in London. As Director of Public Prosecutions and head of the Crown Prosecution Service, Alison was the most senior public prosecutor in England and Wales. With her wide experience gained over many years, Alison can offer clients highly informed guidance on criminal investigations, business crime and fraud and will be a valuable addition to our Business Crime practice.

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