On 16 July 2015, the Serious Fraud Office (“SFO”) released its Annual Report and Accounts for 2014 -15. Key points to note from the Report include:
- The number of defendants convicted in 2014/15 increased, in real terms, from 11 (in 2013/14) to 18. However, the conviction rate fell from 85% (the previous year) to 78%.
- There was a substantial increase in the number of cases reaching trial, with 7 cases concluded in 2014/15, compared to just three the previous year.
- There was also an increase in the number of investigations opened, from 12 (in 2013/14) to 16. As noted by the SFO’s Director in his foreword, these include investigations into FX manipulation, Tesco, and the Sweett Group.
- Finally, the Director confirmed that the SFO is “actively considering the possibility of Deferred Prosecution Agreements in a number of cases”, which may have an impact on the SFO’s dealings with companies that cooperate with its investigations.