SFO in ‘big league’ following Rolls-Royce settlement

The Serious Fraud Office’s (SFO) third Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) with Rolls-Royce has been approved.

The SFO secured “one of the top ten enforcement actions of all time” following investigations into Rolls-Royce regarding bribery and corruption overseas.

Barry Vitou, partner and head of global corporate crime, Pinsent Masons, said: “This DPA instantly places the SFO in the big league when it comes to investigating and resolving bribery investigations.”

A London court confirmed the approval of the DPA and the company will pay out £497m plus costs to the SFO.

“The cost of investigation and the subsequent resolution can be very significant,” added Vitou. “The amount dwarfs any amount previously contemplated by a UK court in the context of criminal law enforcement.”

The DPA tool was first introduced in 2014, and the SFO has since secured two of the agreements.

International law firm Pinsent Masons explained that the US-style DPAs allow businesses, which admit to involvement in corporate crime, the possibility of avoiding a criminal investigation and potential prosecution. This is providing that strict conditions, agreed by a judge, are met.

Vitou concluded: “The resolution of this matter will be welcomed by Rolls Royce but should serve as a reminder and a wake-up call to other companies.”

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