Hot on the heels of our previous posts on the deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) process (see here) and the potential expansion of corporate criminal liabilities (see here), the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) announced that it has agreed a DPA in principle with Amec Foster Wheeler Energy Limited, making it the tenth DPA, should it be approved today (1 July 2021). Further information will be provided after the conclusion of the court hearing. With this DPA, it will mean that seven out of the ten DPAs that have been concluded to date relate to bribery offences under the Bribery Act 2010, today marking ten years since it came into force, showing that DPAs are a key tool in the SFO’s fight against corruption.

Further, in an example of multi-jurisdictional cooperation, it is understood that Amec has also entered into a DPA in the US and settled with the Ministério Público Federal (MPF), the Controladoria-Geral da União (CGU), and the Advogado-Geral da União (AGU) in Brazil. Prosecutors/regulators have for some years now been cooperating on a much greater level, particularly those tasked with stamping out bribery and corruption. There is no doubt that the ability to investigate and take appropriate action has been made easier by the global sharing of information and resources and that companies and their D&Os are at increased risk of multiple proceedings from the same root cause. This raises significant defence challenges for defendants and increased costs.

We will report further once the SFO publishes further details.