14 September 2021
A Serious Fraud Office (SFO) solicitor’s claim that international companies seeking a deferred prosecution agreement should give the agency access to overseas documents led to Thomson Reuters seeking Aziz Rahman’s thoughts on the matter.
Irene Cummins, a prosecutor and SFO lawyer, told the Cambridge International Symposium on Economic Crime that letting the agency have such access was part of the cooperation that is necessary to obtain a DPA.
But Aziz told Thomson Reuters’ Regulatory Intelligence that although cooperation is important when a company is seeking a DPA, this does not mean that the SFO has “carte blanche’’ to request documents that the law does not entitle it to have.
He referred to the Supreme Court ruling in the KBR case earlier this year, in which it was made clear that the SFO had been wrong to try and force the company to give it documents that were held abroad.
Aziz emphasised that the wishes of the SFO cannot override the ruling of the court. He explained that a company must consider a number of complicated issues when it is negotiating a DPA, and there may be a number of factors that need assessing when deciding whether to give the SFO access to documents held overseas.
The SFO, he said, has a number of routes it can go down to try and obtain documents.
Aziz article can be read on Thomson Reuters Regulatory Intelligence. (Subscription required)
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