Christmas has come early for the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) as it is expected that the first Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) will be officially agreed on Monday 30 November 2015.
It will conclude an investigation into the UK arm of South African lender Standard Bank – and is rumoured to deal with bribery in Africa.
Standard Bank has issued a statement indicating that “The facts to which the DPA relate took place before the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China acquired a 60% majority shareholding in the bank on 1 February 2015.’
The case will come before Lord Justice Leveson on Monday and the terms of the agreement will be made public.
DPAs were always considered likely to figure in corruption inquiries and are dealt with in Chapter 11 of Bribery: A Compliance Handbook (Bloomsbury Professional, 2014).
Leveson is expected to include some guidance on DPAs in his judgment and we will provide an update once the judgment is public.
DPAs provide a “plea deal” where by there is an agreement between the parties with undertakings given. Prosecution is “deferred” and can be resumed if the “undertakings” are not met.