At the Cambridge Symposium on Economic Crime at Jesus College Tuesday, David Green QC, the head of the UK Serious Fraud Office, described what he called a cross section of the SFO’s current caseload.
The cross section, he said, tells “a lot about what the SFO is for and where it is now.”
It was Green’s third presentation to the Cambridge Symposium as director of the SFO. Most of the cases he talked about involve bribery of foreign officials.
Here’s the cross section:
Libor: An ongoing investigation into the manipulation of the London Interbank Offered Rate, a measure used in the setting of interest rates around the world. Twelbe individuals have been charged so far.
Forex: This concerns the alleged manipulation of the foreign exchange market.
Barclays/Qatar: An investigation begun in 2012 into the circumstances surrounding Barclays’ £8 billion recapitalisation in 2008.
Rolls Royce: It concerns allegations of bribery carried out by local agents in return for orders in various markets, touching several divisions of Rolls Royce business activity.
GlaxoSmithKline: An investigation into allegations that bribes were paid in order to increase business in several jurisdictions.
G4S and Serco: It concerns allegations of fraudulent claims for payment under contracts for the provision of services to the UK government.
GPT: The investigation concerns a subsidiary’s business relationship with the Saudi National Guard.
Alstom: An ongoing investigation into the use of British subsidiaries of a major French multinational to dispense bribes in several jurisdictions in order to secure large infrastructure contracts. Charges have already been filed against a subsidiary.
The Sweett Group: The investigation concerns allegations of bribes paid in return for building contracts in North Africa.
Ukranian old regime politician: Not corporate, but an ongoing money laundering investigation ($23 million restrained in London).
Green said “these cases are from the top tier of fraud and bribery work. That is what the SFO does, and that is what it is for.”
He said it’s no coincidence that many of the cases involve “household names.” The performance of those companies “is of great importance to the UK economy.”
The cases involve “vast quantities of digital data [that has] to be obtained, uploaded, searched and assessed.”
Evidence for the big cases often comes from other jurisdictions. Getting it can be problematic, Green said.
“Those we investigate are well resourced and lawyered-up. Claims of privilege can transcend extravagance and amount to a strategy of deliberate obstruction, a strategy we will always challenge. But individuals, corporates and their lawyers need to understand that we will make progress and we will not go away. These cases illustrate that determination,” he said.
The SFO’s September 2, 2014 release is here.
The FCPA Blog’s U.S. corporate investigations list (July 2014) is here.
Richard L. Cassin is the publisher and editor of the FCPA Blog. He can be contacted here.