Bribery and Corruption

First Deferred Prosecution Agreement and Lessons Regarding Compliance

Please see our E-alert in relation to the first Deferred Prosecution Agreement approved by Lord Justice Leveson on 30 November 2015.

Addleshaw Goddard LLP, 30 November 2015

Sweett Group Plc Admits Bribery Offence

On 2 December 2015, the Serious Fraud Office confirmed that Sweett Group Plc admitted an offence under section 7 of the Bribery Act 2010 in relation to conduct in the Middle East.

Sweett Group Plc is the first company to plead guilty under the Act.

Sweett Group are yet to be sentenced.

Serious Fraud Office, 2 December 2010

New York legislator convicted in bribery case

Sheldon Silver was convicted of abusing his office to collect as much as $4 million in illegal bribes.

He was found guilty of all seven counts against him which included fraud, extortion and money laundering.

Reuters, 1 December 2015

Ben Morgan, joint head of bribery and corruption, delivers speech on 'First DPA and use of s.7 Bribery Act' at the Managing Risk and Mitigating Litigation Conference

Mr Morgan discussed the first ever Deferred Prosecution Agreement approved by Lord Justice Leveson.

It was highlighted that Lord Justice Leveson identified four relevant features when approving a DPA: the seriousness of the conduct, the way the organisation behaved once aware, history of similar conduct and the extent to which the entity has changed since the time of the misconduct.

Serious Fraud Office, 1 December 2015

Cyber Crime

Greek banks hit by Hackers

Reuters has reported that hackers have staged cyber-attacks on three Greek banks and demanded a ransom in bitcoins to stop their disruption.

It is understood that the hackers managed to block the internet banking activity of these banks but did not penetrate the banks' security or obtain confidential data or access to accounts.

Reuters, 30 November 2015

VTech to be investigated in relation to Hacking Breach

Hong Kong-based toy company, VTech, will be investigated by several US states after being subject to hacking, in which personal information was stolen.

It is understood that the Hong Kong Privacy Commissioner has already initiated a compliance check to understand whether the company had followed data privacy principles.

The Guardian, 2 December 2015

Health & Safety

Fire service in tumble dryer safety warning

Essex Fire Service has issued a safety warning after Hotpoint, Indesit and Creda announced they are reviewing the safety of their products.

ITV News, 30 November 2015

Crane hire company failures cause death of employee

A crane hire company has been found guilty of corporate manslaughter having failed to ensure that the vehicle being driven by one of its employees was safe.  The brakes were found to be inoperable, worn and contaminated, which caused the 130-tonne vehicle to crash into an earth bank.

The company will be sentenced on 22 December 2015.

BBC News, 1 December 2015

Financial Regulation

UBS Traders May be First to Face Sanctions in Forex Probes

As many as seven UBS Group AG Traders may face sanctions from FINMA in relation to its forex probe. It is thought that these individuals may potentially be the first people to be punished in the global currency-rigging scandal.

Bloomberg Business, 1 December 2015

Tax

Volkswagen Tax Probe

German prosecutors have announced an investigation into potential tax evasion connected to the Volkswagen emissions scandal.

It is understood that the investigation focuses on five Volkswagen employees.

Reuters, 24 November 2015

HSBC whistleblower receives prison sentence

Herve Falciani, the former HSBC Swiss bank employee who exposed tax evasion at the bank has received a five year prison sentence from Swiss prosecutors for aggravated industrial espionage.

The Independent, 28 November 2015

Senior KPMG partners arrested in HMRC tax evasion inquiry

Four senior executives from the Belfast office of KPMG have been arrested on alleged tax evasion charges.

The Guardian, 26 November 2015

General

Property Alliance Group Ltd v Royal Bank of Scotland plc [2015] EWHC 3187 (Ch)

The High Court has held that legal advice privilege can attach to documents prepared by lawyers for their clients in connection with regulatory investigations.