UK Serious Fraud Office ends first deferred prosecution agreement with a South African bank
On November 30, the United Kingdom’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO) announced the successful conclusion of the deferred prosecution agreement entered into in 2015 with a South African bank, which had followed allegations that payments were made by two former employees to bribe members of the Tanzanian government. This deferred prosecution agreement was the first ever entered into by the SFO and also marked the first use of Section 7 of the Bribery Act of 2010—failure of commercial organizations to prevent bribery—by any U.K. prosecutor. Upon entering into the deferred prosecution agreement in 2015, the bank had also settled related charges with the SEC. See previous Scorecard coverage here.
The DPA required the bank to pay fines and disgorgement totaling almost $26 million, pay an additional $6 million to compensate the government of Tanzania, and hire an external compliance consultant. On the basis that the bank had fully complied with the terms of the agreement, the SFO announced that it had advised the relevant UK court that it will conclude the DPA without restarting proceedings against the bank. The SFO’s announcement also promised that a “Details of Compliance” document outlining how the bank met the terms of the deferred prosecution agreement would be published on the SFO’s website in the future. Because this is the SFO’s first deferred prosecution agreement, this document could be very useful guidance for companies to understand what measures will be expected to satisfy the SFO.