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14 Jul 2016

Jessica Parker comments on SFO recent successes in The Times

Brexit is the challenge that has brought Theresa May to No 10, but as her speech this week revealed, it is not her sole mission.

Among a raft of objectives, she wants to “get tough on irresponsible behaviour in big business”. Her immediate target is overpaid and underachieving directors of big companies, but as we digest the verdicts in last week’s Libor case, the question arises of how the May government will tackle white- collar crime (with all its complexities — as exemplified by revelations this week over George Osborne’s intervention in the HSBC money-laundering case).

May’s empire-building has faced opposition from defenders of the SFO who say the move would blunt the specialist edge of its multidisciplined approach and undermine its non-political position. They claim that the SFO’s position has been strengthened further in recent days by its success in securing a landmark second Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) in a case of an unnamed US-owned medium-sized business involved in bribery and corruption.

Jessica Parker, business crime partner at Corker Binning, says that the more the SFO can clock up these successes, the less likely it is to lose its autonomy.

Read the full article in The Times here.