Law firm and individuals fined £80,000 for regulatory and money laundering breaches  

The Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal has fined Clyde & Co LLP £50,000 and three individuals £10,000 each. This follows a number of allegations made against the respondents, most significantly a failure to act in accordance with their obligations under the Money Laundering Regulations 2007, breaches of SRA Accounts Rules 2011, and Principles 6 and 8 of the SRA Principles 2011.

Criminal Finances Bill receives Royal Assent  

The Criminal Finances Bill received Royal Assent on 27 April 2017. The Criminal Finances Act will provide law enforcement agencies with further powers to recover the proceeds of crime, tackle money laundering, tax evasion and corruption, and combat the financing of terrorism. In particular the Act will create unexplained wealth orders and new criminal offences for corporations who fail to prevent their representatives from facilitating tax evasion. The Act contains the largest expansion of UK corporate criminal liability since the Bribery Act 2010 and one of the most significant overhauls of money laundering legislation in the last decade. For a full briefing of the Criminal Finances Act, please click here.

SFO charges four people in corruption probe  

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has charged logistics company F.H Berling LTS and four people with conspiracy to commit or accept bribery in an investigation of a North Sea oil exploration project. The four individuals conspired together and with others to win or retain freight forwarding services contracts between January 2010 and May 2013. Representatives for the company and the individuals will appear at Westminster Magistrates’ Court on 19 May 2017.

UK launches National Cyber Security Centre  

Robert Hannigan, Director of GCHQ, has warned of the industrial scale of hacking of businesses as he launches Britain's first National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC). He warned that cyber attacks and theft of intellectual property cost large British businesses, on average, up to £375,000 in 2016 and that the average cost of single attacks has doubled to £3 million. One of the first tasks of the NCSC will be to work with the Bank of England to produce advice for the financial sector to manage cyber security effectively. The costs of cyber crime to businesses include disruption, days spent responding to incidents, loss of business, regulatory fines and loss of assets. The NCSC will be led by Ciaran Martin, who is currently Director General for Cyber at GCHQ.  

High Court decision takes restrictive approach to both litigation legal privelege and legal advice privelege  

A High Court decision earlier this week has applied a strict approach to litigation privilege in the context of criminal proceedings, finding that litigation was not in reasonable contemplation (so the first limb of the test for litigation privilege was not met) even though a criminal investigation by the SFO was reasonably contemplated: SFO v Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation Ltd [2017] EWHC 1017 (QB). For a full briefing of the decision, please click here.