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JUN
08

Civil Recovery Orders Back On the Table for the SFO – by Siobhain Egan

It seemed from last autumn’s comments made by David Green QC, the Director of the SFO, that he was bringing back the prosecuting authority to its prosecutorial roots. However, he has recently stated, “… in the case of a genuine self-report, where, say, a new board had discovered previous misconduct under previous management, had investigated it and reported it to SFO and put in place measures to avoid repetition, then obviously the fact of self-reporting would weigh heavily in the public interest against prosecution.”

This of course makes complete sense, particularly with the advent of Deferred Prosecution Agreements (DPAs) looming. Additionally, there was a fair amount of grumbling and confusion in the City legal press after he made his initial statement last year, and many were wondering whether it would be in any company’s interest to self-report if the SFO were only looking to prosecute.

The SFO have had plenty of successful civil recovery proceedings issued in the High Court over recent years, e.g. Balfour Beatty PLC, Amec PLC, M.W. Kellogg Limited, Macmillan Publishers Ltd, and Mabey & Johnson. It is not difficult for them to be so successful; pt.5 Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, gives the prosecuting body enormous and draconian powers to focus purely upon the property in question. The standard of proof is the lower standard, and they do not need to prove unlawful conduct.

So for a company, self-reporting and the timing of the report are crucial. In reality, to receive the full benefit, the report should be one that the SFO would not have learned of through any other source other than the company. It should be within weeks of the criminal offending coming to light. There has to be full disclosure of the offending behaviour (it’s vital that the company comes with ‘clean hands’) and with proof that such behaviour would not occur again (e.g. better compliance systems, supervision etc).

It is a huge decision to make, and the collateral damage for any company would be enormous, e.g. the effect upon shareholders (see Mabey & Johnson), reputational management, and other contracts/suppliers etc, and so the decision has to be made very carefully. Look to see if the action/event really amounts to a reportable offence.

Which brings us neatly to the current possibility that the government may re-visit aspects of the Bribery Act 2011 e.g. facilitation payments which cause SMEs (and the necessary expensive compliance systems) such concern.

We can advise and represent any individual or company in the High Court facing civil recovery (we successfully resisted such proceedings against an individual recently). We can negotiate with the authorities with a view to reaching a good settlement, if necessary.

We can also help to advise companies who are considering self-reporting to the authorities (based on our 30 years of experience successfully dealing with the authorities) to ensure that all aspects are covered.

We also advise companies regarding compliance systems at reasonable costs.

Contact Jeffrey Lewis or Siobhain Egan, if you are facing any of these issues.

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1900 Hits
JUN
07

Web Forum Dismantled Following Arrests Worldwide

An international investigation involving law enforcement agencies from Vietnam, the US and the UK has resulted in the closing down of what is thought to have been one of the world's most significant web forums for trading in stolen credit card data.

Last week, police officers in Vietnam arrested eight individuals believed to be members of the group that set up the website, while police officers in the UK arrested three men who had allegedly made significant use of the website.

According to the UK’s Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA), the website, known as “mattfeuter”, is believed to have enabled its 16,000 members to carry out card frauds worth in the region of $200 million.

The site apparently operated by “hacking” into legitimate commercial organisations to steal and then sell on data relating to approximately 1.1 million card users. The “members” of the website had a secure login and could order the number and type of credit card details they required.

The investigation is still ongoing, says SOCA, with authorities now targeting other members of the forum.

Intelligence continues to be shared between international law enforcement agencies and further arrests are anticipated.

Contact Lewis Nedas’ Criminal Lawyers in London

If you have been charged with computer crime or credit card fraud and require specialist legal advice please contact our solicitors Jeffrey LewisorSiobhain Egan on 020 7387 2032 or complete our online enquiry form here.

This blog post is intended as a news item only - no connection between Lewis Nedas and the parties concerned is intended or implied.

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  3172 Hits
3172 Hits
JUN
06

English Law Should Not be Sold to the Lowest Bidder

Clare Montgomery QC has published an excellent article in the Financial Times on 31 May 2013 about her concerns with the Ministry of Justice’s proposed plans regarding PCT and related issues.

Read the full article here.

 

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1336 Hits
JUN
05

Victims Get the Right to Appeal CPS Decisions Not To Prosecute – by Siobhain Egan

Frances Gibb writes in the Times (01 June 2013) that victims are finally to have a right to appeal CPS decisions to drop proceedings in their cases. This long awaited development reinforces the importance of victims within the criminal justice system. This right of appeal is supplemental to the complaints system and Judicial Review (heavily under threat by government cuts and which requires a high legal threshold).

There are 88,000 cases dropped by the CPS every year and the overwhelming number of complaints which the CPS receives concerns the disposal of prosecutions.

The victim will have a right of appeal where the CPS decides not to charge, discontinues the prosecution, or offers no evidence in court. In order for the decision to be appealed successfully, it must be wrong and should be reversed to maintain public confidence.

This means that the CPS will need to think even more carefully about discontinuing cases upon the receipt of representations from the defence, and include the victim when making the decision to drop the case.

This has been a long time coming; various dicta from senior judiciary and pressure from victims’ charities have finally achieved a greater prominence for victims.

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  2877 Hits
2877 Hits
JUN
04

Essential Guide to Estate Agent Jargon

The Telegraph (04 June 2013) gives a comprehensive translation of “Estate Agent speak” – essential reading for any would be purchasers.

If you are considering buying a property contact Richard McConnell, Janak Bakrania, or Layna Thompson.

 

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1728 Hits

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