July 16, 2019

SFO announces DPA with Sarclad, acquittal of former employees

The UK Serious Fraud Office has announced and published a deferred prosecution agreement (“DPA”) with Sarclad Ltd, a UK-based technology company working in the metals industry, on charges of corruption and failure to prevent bribery. The announcement follows the acquittal of three individuals connected to the case who were charged with conspiracy to corrupt and conspiracy to bribe.

The DPA was approved on July 8, 2019 on grounds of conspiracy to corrupt, conspiracy to bribe, and failure to prevent bribery, in violation of Section 1 of the Criminal Law Act 1977 and Section 7 of the Bribery Act 2010.  The charges arise from 28 contracts found to have been procured as a result of bribes between 2004 and 2012.  During the implementation of a global compliance program in 2011, concerns about the way several contracts had been secured led the company to retain outside counsel to undertake an independent internal investigation.  The internal investigation resulted in a report, which the company submitted to the SFO in January 2013.  In passing judgment approving the DPA, Lord Justice Leveson remarked that the case “provides an example of the value of self-report and co-operation along with the introduction of the appropriate compliance mechanisms.”

The DPA requires the company to pay £6,201,085 disgorgement of profits and a £352,000 financial penalty.  Sarclad has also agreed to continue to cooperate with the SFO, to provide a report of its anti-bribery and anti-corruption controls, policies and procedures, and of all third party intermediary transactions, every year for the duration of the DPA.

The three individuals were acquitted following a jury trial on charges of conspiring to agree to bribes in connection with Sarclad’s overseas contracts. They are Michael Sorby, formerly the managing director of Sarclad, Adrian Leek, a former sales manager and head of sales and marketing, and David Justice, a former project manager for the company. Whilst the trial was ongoing reporting restrictions had prohibited publication of the DPA by the SFO or the company. 

SFO news release | DPA | Final Judgment | Statement of Facts