SFO speaks on DPAs: Alun Milford has explained the role of SFO, and within that role what it does to counter bribery and corruption. He stressed SFO is not a regulator, an educator or an adviser - it is an investigator and prosecutor. It will prosecute if the evidential factors to do so are present and if it is in the public interest to do so. He noted that all SFO's bribery actions to date have been criminal investigations, and explained the purpose and procedure for deferred prosecution agreements (DPAs). He looked at the factors SFO will consider when deciding whether a DPA is appropriate. He noted several points:

  • that self-reporting must be genuine and must tell SFO something it did not already know;
  • that DPAs are possible only in cases of a genuine self-report (for example a company must be reporting its own wrongdoing, not that of its employees); and
  • that SFO is not denying a company's right to lie low and say nothing, but it would warn companies that any internal investigations they may have conducted could become relevant if SFO gets to hear of any wrongdoing within the company.

He ended by telling companies not to expect co-operation where it offers none, or to claim it is co-operating when it is not. (Source: SFO Speaks on DPAs)