November 21, 2018

SFO Joint Head of Bribery & Corruption discusses DPAs and cooperation

Matthew Wagstaff, Joint Head of Bribery & Corruption of the Serious Fraud Office, spoke today at the Lawyer’s Managing Risk and Litigation 2018 conference in London.  Wagstaff noted the importance of inter-agency cooperation, both within the UK and abroad, and described the current focus of the SFO:  to move cases more quickly, particularly through the investigative and pre-charge stages; to work collaboratively with law enforcement partners domestically and internationally, particularly with the DOJ; and to make the best use possible of the tools available to the SFO such as unexplained wealth orders and deferred prosecution agreements.  Wagstaff noted that in determining whether to invite a company into a DPA, prosecutors take into consideration:  the seriousness of the predicate offense, the function of internal compliance programs; the history of the company’s conduct; the extent to which genuine changes have taken place in the corporate culture; the impact of a prosecution on innocent employees or shareholders; and the degree to which the company has cooperated during the investigation.  Wagstaff reiterated:  “No co-operation means no agreement.”  He hinted that the SFO was considering what additional guidance could be provided on the subject of cooperation, but declined to provide further detail.

SFO Speech