On 6 September 2018, following hot on the heels of the important decision on the application of litigation privilege in internal investigations in ENRC v Serious Fraud Office (read our recent summary here), the Administrative Court handed down its judgment in R (KBR Inc.) v Serious Fraud Office concerning the Serious Fraud Office’s (SFO) powers to compel the production of documents held outside of the United Kingdom by companies incorporated outside of the United Kingdom. The Administrative Court held that where there is a “sufficient connection” to the United Kingdom, the SFO can compel the production of such documents. Continue reading
Today the Court of Appeal of England and Wales issued its judgment in The Director of the Serious Fraud Office and Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation Limited regarding the privileged nature of documents created in the context of an internal investigation.
The Court of Appeal reversed the High Court’s decision and found that all of the interviews conducted by ENRC’s external lawyers were covered by litigation privilege, and so too was the work conducted by the forensic accountancy advisors for the books and records review. The Court of Appeal found that ENRC did in fact reasonably contemplate prosecution when the documents were created. Moreover, while determining that it did not have to decide the issue, the Court of Appeal also stated that it may also have departed from the existing narrow definition of “client” for legal advice privilege purposes in the context of corporate investigations. Continue reading
by Evan Norris and Alma M. Mozetic
On July 31, 2018, the High Court of England and Wales denied the U.S. Justice Department’s request for the extradition of Stuart Scott, a British foreign exchange trader indicted in 2016 as part of the DOJ Fraud Section’s multi-year effort to investigate and prosecute foreign currency market manipulation. The decision in Scott v. Government of the United States of America marks the second time in 2018 that DOJ has lost an extradition fight in London. The Department has reportedly indicated that it will appeal. If the decision stands, Scott will join a handful of U.S. court cases that have the potential to impact DOJ’s ability to reach across the globe to pursue foreign nationals for violations of the FCPA and other financial fraud statutes. Continue reading
On April 18, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral argument in Lagos v. United States. On appeal from the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Lagos presents the important issue of whether a corporate victim’s professional costs—such as investigatory and legal expenses—incurred as a result of a criminal defendant’s offense conduct must be reimbursed under the Mandatory Victims Restitution Act (“MVRA”).
The issue has been subject to a recurring circuit split and Lagos now offers the Supreme Court an opportunity to resolve the conflict. Moreover, as noted by the certiorari petition, the Court’s decision will necessarily have implications “every time corporations engage in internal investigations or audits at the suspicion of wrongdoing.” Continue reading
On 19 March 2018, Singapore passed legislation introducing the concept of the deferred prosecution agreement (“DPA”) to the jurisdiction for the first time. Under the new laws, corporations (but not individuals) facing prosecution for offences of corruption, money laundering or receipt of stolen property may attempt to negotiate the terms of a DPA with prosecuting authorities, under which they would avoid prosecution, in return for adherence to various conditions imposed upon them, for a set period of time.
By introducing the DPA as an enforcement tool, Singapore joins the ranks of the United States, Brazil, the United Kingdom and France, which form the vanguard of an increasingly consistent global approach to corporate criminal resolutions. Australia and Canada are also both currently evaluating whether to introduce similar legislation. Continue reading
On March 23, 2018, Congress passed the Clarifying Lawful Overseas Use of Data Act (the CLOUD Act), amending key aspects of U.S. surveillance law and providing a framework for cross-border data access for law enforcement purposes. The Act addresses two problems that have been the subject of heated debate for the past five years. First, by amending the Stored Communications Act, 18 U.S.C. §§ 2701 et seq. (SCA), the CLOUD Act clarifies that American law enforcement authorities can compel providers of electronic communication services — such as major email service providers and social media networks — to produce data stored outside the United States. Second, the Act establishes new rules facilitating foreign law enforcement access to data stored inside the United States. In short, this new legislation impacts any provider that may receive either U.S. or foreign orders to produce data in furtherance of criminal investigations. Continue reading
Following the decisions in The RBS Rights Issue Litigation and Serious Fraud Office v Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation Limited (“ENRC”), it was thought that the prospect of claiming legal professional privilege in English proceedings over interview memoranda generated during internal investigations was slim (see our client alert on those two cases (PDF: 172 KB)). However, a recent decision of the English High Court in Bilta (UK) Limited and Others v (1) Royal Bank of Scotland Plc (2) Mercuria Energy Europe Trading Limited (“Bilta”) has refused the disclosure of interview memoranda on the basis of litigation privilege, providing a glimmer of hope for corporates who seek to protect such documents from disclosure. Continue reading
In December 2016 the French government finally passed the so-called “Loi Sapin II” in order to bolster its ability to penalize overseas bribery. Its unstated but clear goal was to achieve some degree of parity with US efforts in this area, which had led to a number of highly publicized cases where well-known French companies had paid fines totaling well over $2 billion to the US treasury to resolve criminal matters that could well have been resolved in France. A key provision of the new law is a procedure that permits a negotiated outcome, similar in concept to a US Deferred Prosecution Agreement (“DPA”), that avoids a criminal conviction. On November 14, 2017, the first such agreement was announced by the National Financial Prosecutor of France. While many details of the deal will not be known until the release of the court’s opinion approving it, which may be available as early as the end of November, the fact of the outcome and its known parameters are very significant. Continue reading
Effective anti-corruption compliance programs include protections for whistleblowers that raise corruption concerns. Article 13.3 of Russia‘s 2008 Federal Law No. 273-FZ on Counteracting Corruption (the “Anti-Corruption Law”) addressed Russian lawmakers’ expectations regarding effective compliance programs. But the law was silent on whistleblower protections. Recently proposed legislation in Russia may help address this gap.
Even before the Anti-Corruption Law came into effect, Russian law included several provisions that could be interpreted to provide some protection for whistleblowers. For example, Russian employment law prohibits discrimination and sets out an exhaustive list of permissible grounds for dismissing an employee for cause; firing an employee for blowing the whistle on potential corruption is not among them. As a result, firing an employee for whistleblowing could ran afoul of Russian employment law. In addition, the Russian government can protect individuals whose security might be threatened as a result of their participation in criminal proceedings that involve alleged corruption. The state might, for example, provide such witnesses with physical protection, relocate them, or even give them new identities. Continue reading
In United States v. Allen (PDF: 511 KB), the Second Circuit held that self-incriminating statements compelled by a foreign sovereign cannot be used, directly or indirectly, in a U.S. prosecution. The opinion thoughtfully analyzes how U.S. constitutional principles apply in cross-border investigations and may have some impact on how such investigations are conducted in the future.
During the well-known investigations of alleged manipulation of the London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”), U.K. citizens and low-level bank employees Anthony Allen and Anthony Conti were suspected of artificially adjusting exchange rate information to affect LIBOR and benefit their confederates. The U.K. Financial Conduct Authority (“FCA”) compelled Allen and Conti’s testimony under the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (“FSMA”). The FSMA provides that the FCA could not use Allen and Conti’s statements against them but could use the “fruits” of any investigation developed on the basis of their statements. The FCA also compelled testimony from Paul Robson, one of Allen and Conti’s co-workers, who provided generally exculpatory information regarding himself, Allen and Conti. Later, the FCA commenced an enforcement action against Robson and provided him with transcripts of Allen’s and Conti’s statements, which Robson carefully reviewed. The FCA ultimately decided not to prosecute Allen, Conti, or Robson. Continue reading