Serious Fraud Office lays out expectations in new DPA guidance

The Serious Fraud Office has published internal guidance on the threshold companies must meet before they are offered a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA).

In the past six years since DPAs came into being, just eight have been entered into. A ninth was agreed to (in principle) with Airline Services on 21 October.

Speaking to Compliance Week, Iskander Fernandez, Partner and White-Collar Crime specialist at BLM, said he does not believe the approach set out in the guidance will be compelling enough for companies to spill the beans on any criminal activity.

“There does not appear to be anything new and substantial enough in the guidance that would change advice lawyers may give their corporate clients,” he says. “If a company is suspected, rather than immediately approaching the SFO, lawyers are almost always likely to advise that an internal investigation is undertaken before disclosure is made to the agency.”

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