2017 was an important year for the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (“SFO”). The Government’s plan to merge the SFO with the National Crime Agency was scrapped, seemingly securing the SFO’s future as an independent investigator and prosecutor. 2018 looks set to be equally important. Director of the SFO, David Green, is due to step down, and the Government recently announced the creation of the National Economic Crime Centre (“NECC”), which could encroach on the SFO’s autonomy.
The largest SFO Deferred Prosecution Agreement (“DPA”) with Rolls-Royce involving payments of £497,252,645 was reached in 2017 – the third DPA by the SFO since their introduction in February 2014.1 These DPAs will be monitored closely by the SFO, and companies and observers will continue to pay close attention to how this area develops in an effort to better understand what is required to earn a DPA,