FRA Director, Simon Taylor, joined the panel Tackling illicit finance: Political rhetoric or a new priority for law enforcement? at GIR Live London Winter this month alongside Timothy Bowden, Dechert; James Brady, Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton; Jose Smith, Global Financial Crime Counsel, Barclays and Polly Sprenger, Katten Muchin Rosenman. FRA Director, Edward Nkune, also attended the annual event. Below are their key insights covering what was discussed throughout the day.
- Matthew Wagstaff, Joint Head of Bribery and Corruption, SFO, confirmed that waiver of privilege will be seen as a significant indication of cooperative conduct on the part of corporates who self-report
- The SFO are unlikely to follow the DOJ model of providing guidance on how compliance programmes will be assessed for the purposes of the adequate procedures defence. The SFO do not have a dedicated ‘compliance’ expert such as Hui Chen and would not be looking to appoint one
- SFO are strengthening their senior management team, particularly with regard to Intelligence and Case Development
- The Tesco acquittals were unexpected. The SFO were surprised that the trial judge took a very different view on the quality of the evidence, but it was stressed that the SFO take on difficult cases
- Unexplained Wealth Orders (“UWOs”) – there was a broad consensus that these are important new tools but are likely to be used only in exceptional cases
- The focus on money laundering and sanctions violations and the escalation in fines, penalties and remediation costs have forced banks to radically re-assess risk appetite for certain markets and jurisdictions. The Danske bank scandal will be another amplifier for this. Stemming the flow of ‘de-risking’ will require a combined effort centred on technological solutions, information sharing and improved regulator guidance