Serious Fraud Office Issues New Policies on Self Reporting, Facilitation Payments and Business Expenditures

12 October 2012
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  • On 9 October 2012, the Serious Fraud Office ("SFO") issued new policies and guidance with respect to its approach to certain corruption-related offences. The new policies address the SFO’s approach to self-reporting, facilitation payments and business expenditures. The new policies state that prosecution decisions by the SFO will be based primarily on the Full Code Test in The Code for Crown Prosecutors.
  • The SFO's July 2009 guidance regarding self-reporting of corruption offences by corporates, which indicated a prospect of civil settlements in appropriate cases, is no longer in force. The new policy indicates that there is no presumption in favour of civil settlements in any circumstances and states that self-reporting by corporates—while encouraged—will provide no guarantee that a criminal prosecution will not follow.
  • The new policy on facilitation payments confirms that such payments, regardless of their size or frequency are illegal and may be the subject of criminal prosecution.
  • The new policy regarding business expenditures confirms that bona fide hospitality and business expenditures will not be the subject of prosecutions.