SFO ‘Has Sharpened Its Strategic Focus’

Body Published Annual Report On Activity


The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has “sharpened its strategic focus” in tackling bribery and corruption in recent years, according to the director’s foreword in its latest annual report.

David Green outlined at the start of the document that the improvement had been particularly seen on casework related to the Roskill model, describing it as the “topmost tier of serious and complex fraud and bribery”.

He explained how the SFO has put its focus on larger, more complex investigations, as well as taken steps to expand its analytical and intelligence capability.

It was also revealed there were 11 cases involving 34 defendants charged and awaiting trial as of March 31st 2014, while eight prosecutions of 18 defendants were either concluded or in progress in 2013-14.

The SFO’s conviction rate was also calculated at 85 per cent, with Green adding that he was confident the organisation has “in place the building blocks necessary for the success of the SFO”.

Expert Opinion
In order to achieve greater corporate criminal liability then there needs to be a legislative change, moving away from the ‘controlling mind’ test, to make corporate prosecutions easier.

"However, there also needs to be budget increases for the SFO and other prosecution agencies to fund complex financial crime investigations across large and smaller corporates.

"Prosecutions under the Bribery Act 2010 section 7 for the ‘corporate offence’ of failing to prevent bribery in connection with a business unless ‘adequate’ procedures to prevent are in place are still to be seen, partly because the Bribery Act is not retrospective and the conduct concerned need to be committed after 1 July 2011.

"If we can see the outcome of section 7 corporate bribery offence prosecutions it will be easier to judge the potential success or failure of the new Government corporate crime proposals."
Sarah Wallace, Partner