SFO publishes revised policies

The SFO has published revised policies in relation to facilitation payments, business expenditure (hospitality) and corporate self-reporting. The SFO states that the purpose of the revised policies is to:

  • restate the SFO's primary role as an investigator and prosecutor of serious or complex fraud, including corruption;
  • ensure there is consistency with other prosecuting bodies; and
  • meet certain OECD requirements.

David Green CB QC, Director of the SFO, re-emphasised that all decisions to prosecute unlawful activity will continue to be governed by the Full Code Test as set out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors and the applicable SFO/CPS prosecution guidance. The SFO has also published a Q&A page relating to the revised policies.

Firearms merchant jailed for Ponzi fraud

The SFO has announced that Andrew Donald Litt has been sentenced to 32 months' imprisonment after admitting that he defrauded investors to prop up his family business. When Mr Litt's firearms and accessories company ran into financial difficulties, he invited investors to loan him money on the basis that it would be returned in between 2 to 6 months with between 10% and 40% interest. Mr Litt told investors that their money was beins used to buy high quality firearms that would then be sold on for a significant profit, whereas in fact it was being used to repay earlier investors. It is estimated that losses to investors amount to in excess of £8 million. In passing sentence, HHJ Patrick Curran QC took into account the fact that Mr Litt had pleaded guilty, that his actions were not motivated by personal gain and that he had assisted the investigation.

TI report on anti-corruption programmes in defence companies

Transparency International (TI) has published a report into how the world's largest defence companies fight corruption. According to the report, two thirds of these companies do not provide sufficient evidence about how they fight corruption. The report includes data from the ten largest arms exporting nations who, between them, are responsible for over 90% of arms sales around the world.

The report concluded that 10% of defence companies have good disclosure of their anti-corruption programmes and that there has been definite improvement in anti-corruption programmes amongst defence companies.

Former police chief held in corruption investigation

It is reported that Joe McCarthy, former chief executive of Cleveland Police Authority, is being investigated on suspicion of fraud, corruption, misconduct in a public office and money laundering after it emerged that he had spent £80,000 on his corporate credit card. Other payments that Mr McCarthy received are also being investigated, including bonus and loyalty payments as well as a pay-off package amounting to £362,000. Seven other people have also been arrested as part of the investigation.