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Harry Cassin
Publisher and Editor

Andy Spalding
Senior Editor

Jessica Tillipman
Senior Editor

Bill Steinman
Senior Editor

Richard L. Cassin
Editor at Large

Elizabeth K. Spahn
Editor Emeritus

Cody Worthington
Contributing Editor

Julie DiMauro
Contributing Editor

Thomas Fox
Contributing Editor

Marc Alain Bohn
Contributing Editor

Bill Waite
Contributing Editor

Shruti J. Shah
Contributing Editor

Russell A. Stamets
Contributing Editor

Richard Bistrong
Contributing Editor

Eric Carlson
Contributing Editor

The SFO’s Seriously Big Book

The U.K.’s Serious Fraud Office has just published a 300-page book on white collar crime, enforcement, and compliance.

SFO director Richard Alderman says in his foreward its ‘primary purpose is to give board-level readers in the U.K. and international businesses informed commentary on the impact of anti-fraud and anti-corruption legislation.’

The thirty six essays by various authors that follow cover the Bribery Act, money laundering, fraud, enforcement methods and trends, internal investigations, self-reporting, cross-border prosecutions, whistleblowing, and a lot more.

Consulting editor Harry Travers wrote the introduction and overview. He’s frank in explaining, among other things, why the U.S. enforcement model for the FCPA is right for the U.K.

He says:

The traditional approach has occasionally led to instances where cases brought by the SFO have collapsed spectacularly, causing massive media criticism and public disquiet. . . .

However, the approach in the United States has seemed more sure of producing results. Given the higher conviction rates achieved by comparable prosecution agencies in the U.S., it is no accident that following the reporting of the recommendations of the U.K. Fraud Review in 2006, a former New York Prosecutor, Jessica de Grazia, was commissioned to produce a report on the work of the SFO, “with particular reference to practice in overseas jurisdictions and any related internal organisational and structural issues”.

The controversial report, published in June 2008, contained a comparison of the SFO with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, and the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office. It criticised the performance of the SFO as compared with those two agencies, and stated that the “lack of focus” in SFO investigations was “a matter of grave concern”. It criticised what it termed a “pass the buck”, risk-averse and “complaint” culture in the SFO, which “discourage[d] robust decision making and innovative and effective use of powers”, and also led to a “culture of delay”.

Fortunately, Travers concludes, a lot has changed since de Grazia delivered her judgment.

Kudos once again to SFO director Richard Alderman for commissioning this important publication, and letting the record speak for itself.

Serious Economic Crime: A boardroom guide to prevention and compliance can be downloaded as a pdf, or for an iPhone, iPad, or Kindle reader here.

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