Companies that admit to bribery will be given more lenient sentences if
proposals put forward by the Serious Fraud Office this week come into effect.
The SFO is consulting on the future of the agency, with one of its key
proposals being the introduction of a plea-bargain-style system for corruption
cases. It is hoped that the system, similar to that run by the US Department of
Justice, will speed up the handling of such cases according to
The proposals follow a
from former US prosecutor Jessica de Grazia that looked into the
effectiveness of the SFO and how similar work was carried out in the US. She
found that ‘the SFO uses significantly more resources per case than its New York
counterparts and achieves significantly less for its efforts’.
Last year the agency was subject to a storm of negative publicity when it
abandoned its three-year corruption investigation into defence contractor
BAE Systems over the
Al-Yamamah arms deal.
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