From governments worldwide turning up the heat on money laundering and terrorism financing to China’s relentless anti-corruption drive, 2016 is set to be a challenging year for authorities, companies and lawyers alike. GIR asks investigations specialists around the world what issues they’ll be keeping a close eye on in the coming year.
Before turning to future events, let’s review what happened in investigations last year.
There were a series of firsts in 2016 for the UK’s Serious Fraud Office (SFO). In the closing weeks of the year, the SFO finally secured its first deferred prosecution agreement (DPA), when ICBC Standard Bank agreed to pay US$33 million for failing to prevent a sister company from bribing Tanzanian government officials to win a US$600 million contract.
On 18 December, construction company Sweett Group became the first company in the UK to plead guilty to violating section 7 of the UK Bribery Act (UKBA) for failing to prevent a subsidiary from paying bribes to win a contract with an Abu Dhabi-based insurance company.
Finally, the authority secured its first conviction of an individual for Libor manipulation on 3 August. Former UBS trader Tom Hayes was convicted and sentenced to 14 years in prison for Libor manipulation. His sentence, however, was reduced on appeal in December to 11 years.
In comparison, France failed to prosecute a single foreign bribery case in 2015. In fact, France’s only successful foreign bribery prosecution to date was overturned last year. In January 2015, a French appeal court overturned a 2012 decision that found French defence company Safran guilty of bribing Nigerian officials between 2000 and 2003. The appeal court said there was insufficient evidence to show that the employees and the company intended to pay bribes. At the time, lawyers told GIR that the case demonstrated the difficulty of prosecuting foreign bribery cases in the country.
Meanwhile, the DoJ‘s criminal division brought fewer bribery/FCPA cases than it did in 2014. In total, the authority enforced 10 foreign bribery cases, eight of those against individuals and two against private companies.
This number is down from 17 total prosecutions in 2014, 10 of which were against individuals. The DoJ insists that the numbers are down because it is now focusing on “higher impact cases”. The downward trend is also due to the department’s resolve to go after individuals as outlined in a memo issued by US deputy attorney general Sally Yates in September. The memo said that companies must hand over information about culpable individuals to receive cooperation credit.
But in 2015, the DoJ scuppered its chance to hold an individual to account in a foreign bribery case. In June, the department was reprimanded by a judge for botching a case against Joseph Sigelman, the former co-CEO of oil and gas company PetroTiger. Sigelman pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the FCPA and was fined US$339,000, but the authority was forced to drop five of the six charges against him after its star witness in the case confessed that he had provided false testimony in the trial.
The past year was the year of Swiss tax programme resolutions. In total, there were 75 Swiss banks settlements under the programme, which allows banks to resolve potential criminal liabilities if they have reason to believe they have committed tax offences in the US. On 15 December, Swiss banks Credit Agricole, Dreyfus Sons & Co and Baumann & Cie Banquiers agreed to pay penalties of US$130 million under the programme.
In China, the anti-corruption drive which commenced in 2012 continued in earnest. More than 40,000 of its party members were investigated for corruption. Two-thirds of those were punished, including many high-profile individuals.
In June, the former head of China’s domestic security operations, Zhou Yongkang, was sentenced to life in prison for accepting bribes and abusing his position.
Other countries have also been on an anti-corruption drive in the past year.
In July, Romania’s main anti-corruption authority seized €2 billion of assets from Russian oil company Lukoil before charging the company in August with money-laundering. In July, Romanian prosecutors also charged the country’s former prime minister Victor Ponta with money laundering, bribery and tax evasion. Ponta, who resigned from his role in November, will face trial in the country’s top court in the next year, according to reports, but the date of the trial is still unknown.
Meanwhile, a number of countries amended or passed new anti-corruption legislation in 2015. In July, Canada amended procurement laws that halved the time companies are automatically barred from bidding on government contracts if found guilty of offences such as bribery. At the time, lawyers said that the new rules, which bar companies for five years instead of 10, are less harsh and more flexible than the old rules.
In November, New Zealand, which has yet to bring a foreign bribery prosecution, passed an anti-corruption bill that will hold companies liable for the actions of their employees for offences such as bribery unless the companies show that they took reasonable steps to prevent the bribery occurring. The new law also allows facilitation payments. Meanwhile, Germany passed a commercial bribery law in December that makes it a criminal offence to bribe an employee to breach their duties to their employer. Such a breach of duty can include paying them to award a contract in contravention of a company’s internal compliance guidelines. In the past, to hold a person guilty of this offence, prosecutors had to prove that the company was harmed by the bribe. The new law, however, removes this requirement and reduces the burden of proof on prosecutors. But lawyers told GIR at the time that the law was “superfluous”.
China anti-corruption drive to ensnare Western companies
Lawyers told GIR that in 2016, China’s main anti-corruption authority, the Central Commission for Discipline Inspection (CCDI), will turn to Western companies that may have conducted business with, or have links to, companies or public officials currently under investigation by Chinese authorities.
In 2015, China’s anti-corruption drive was relentless. The CCDI is investigating the People’s Bank of China and several regulatory authorities including the China Banking Regulatory Commission, the China Securities Regulatory Commission and the China Insurance Regulatory Commission.
The CCDI is also investigating financial firms on suspicion of corruption, including China Investment, one of the world’s largest sovereign funds and Chinese transport companies including Air China and China Railway Corporation and telecommunication companies China Mobile and China Telecom.
In addition, a number of senior executives from China’s state-owned enterprises have disappeared only to reappear again stating that they were assisting authorities with their investigations.
In January 2016, there were reports that Zhou Chengjian, the founder of one of China’s major fashion brands, Meters/bonwe, had gone missing. Likewise in November, Yim Fung, the head of Hong Kong brokerage firm Guotai Junan International, disappeared. Fung reappeared in December after “assisting in certain investigations” in China.
Martin Rogers at Davis Polk & Wardwell in Hong Kong, said: “There will be continuing investigations of senior public officials and senior executives of big Chinese corporations and some of their activity will involve transactions between Chinese SOE’s [state-owned enterprises] and western companies. The result is that western companies will be collaterally indirectly under scrutiny.”
But Rogers said it is likely that Chinese authorities will be hesitant to target foreign companies.
“I still think there’s a hurdle in the minds of Chinese authorities of whether or not to take on international companies,” Rogers said. “There was the GSK [GlaxoSmithKline] case of course, but I still think there is interest in striking some balance between regulatory enforcement with respect to Western companies and encouraging foreign investment.”
In 2014, China fined British pharmaceutical company GSK US$50 million for bribing Chinese public officials to sell its products.
Kyle Wombolt at Herbert Smith Freehills in Hong Kong said that in 2016 the drive will mainly concern party officials but there will be an increase in the number of private Chinese and multinational companies having to respond to Chinese authorities inquiries because they have conducted business or have links to those currently under investigation.
Petrobras: individuals and companies to be charged outside of Brazil
Last year, the investigation into Brazil’s state-controlled oil company Petrobras blew wide open, implicating those close to Brazil’s president Dilma Rousseff, pulling in authorities from around the world and expanding into a number of Brazilian industries. Lawyers told GIR that in 2016, the investigation will continue to widen and authorities around the world may start enforcing against companies and individuals tied up in the Petrobras matter.
In November, Delcídio Amaral, a top senator in Brazil’s Workers’ Party which Rousseff heads and Andre Esteves, the CEO of Brazilian bank BGT Pactual were arrested by the Brazilian federal police for obstructing an investigation into corruption at Petrobras known as Operation Car Wash.
The double arrest followed the release of a recording in which Amaral and Esteves can be heard asking Petrobras’s former international division head, Nestor Cervero, who was jailed in August of receiving bribes in exchange for contracts, not to disclose evidence about them to prosecutors.
In January 2016, it emerged that Operation Car Wash has found evidence suggesting Rousseff’s chief of staff, Jaques Wagner, received money diverted from Petrobras to help fund his campaign to become state governor in 2006. The evidence of this came from text messages sent by Leo Pinheiro, an executive at Brazilian engineering company OAS.
In November the lead prosecutor in Operation Car Wash, Deltan Dallagnol, revealed that the investigation would now focus on foreign companies after it was disclosed that, so far, 285 foreign companies have conducted business with Petrobras officials or agents who are under investigation.
US authorities have been in interested in the matter since Brazilian prosecutors first started arresting Petrobras officials and in 2014, the DoJ and the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) both announced investigations of the matter.
While the US authorities have yet to charge any company or individual with wrongdoing, sources close to the matter say they are building evidence.
Petrobras itself is listed on the New York Stock Exchange, giving the US jurisdiction, while other companies implicated in the matter may also sell stocks on a US stock exchange.
Lawyers suggest the US could be one step closer to bringing charges after a Brazilian investigation showed that bribes were allegedly paid as part of Petrobras’s US$1.2 billion purchase in 2006 of a Texas oil refinery, the Pasadena Refining System, from Astra Oil, the US subsidiary for Belgian-controlled oil company Astra Transcor Energy.
Other jurisdictions are also investigating. Norway’s white-collar crime authority Økokrim is probing oil companies Sevan Marine and Sevan Drilling in connection with improper payments allegedly paid to Petrobras. The Milan Public Prosecutor’s Office is investigating oil company Saipem, also over alleged bribes paid to Petrobras officials in exchange for contracts.
Sami Arap at Arap Nishi & Uyeda in São Paulo represents Brazilian construction company Engevix, which has been accused of bribing Petrobras officials by Brazilian prosecutors. He said: “I would not be surprised to see some moves charging specific individuals and companies with potential wrongdoing outside of Brazil.
“According to public information, certain defendants charged by Brazilian authorities may have processed a number of US and Swiss-based transactions which the authorities will want to look into.”
SFO may have to consider using civil settlements following DPA success
Since 2011, the UK’s home secretary Theresa May has been keen to break up the SFO and make the National Crime Agency (NCA), which investigates serious and organised crime, the lead serious fraud and foreign bribery agency.
But GIR reported in November that following the SFO’s recent success, including its first deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) with ICBC Standard Bank, the agency’s future – together with that of its director – is probably secure.
However, companies are unlikely to be as keen to enter into DPAs with the SFO as they are with the DoJ. Even the SFO said that the bank had set a high mark for the level of cooperation which it expects from companies.
For a DPA to be entered into by the SFO, a judge must be satisfied that it is in the public interest to forgo a criminal prosecution. The judge must also decide whether the terms of the DPA are “fair, reasonable and proportionate”.
The judge overseeing the matter, the president of the Queen’s Bench Division Sir Brian Leveson, said that the ICBC Standard Bank DPA was in the public interest because Standard Bank self-reported the misconduct within days of finding the suspicious payments. The bank hired law firm Jones Day to conduct what the judge said was a “detailed” internal investigation. What’s more, a new board was in place following a change in ownership, and the SFO had little evidence to suggest any Standard Bank employees knew that executives at its subsidiary intended to pay bribes.
Alistair Graham at Mayer Brown in London said: “Many are saying that the SFO will enter into more deferred prosecution agreements with companies in the coming year but this may not be the beginning of a flood of such applications as many commentators suggest.
“What people have to remember is that this DPA was reached with ICBC Bank under a particular set of circumstances which was to some extent unusual,” Graham said.
The possibility that DPAs will not be available – or desirable – to all companies leads to the inevitable question of what other tools are in the SFO’s belt.
Richard Alderman, the predecessor of SFO director David Green, was criticised for over-relying on civil settlements – a civil fine against a company for economic wrongdoing. When Green took over his role in 2012, he said that a balance needed to be struck between prosecution and civil settlements. However the agency has not used civil settlement with companies since then.
Jonathan Pickworth at White & Case in London said the SFO may start thinking about using civil settlements in the coming year because not all companies will be able to enter into DPAs with the authority.
“Reviving the old civil settlements, used by the previous regime, would go a long way towards encouraging more self-reporting,” he said. “Then the SFO could really preserve its valuable and limited resources for those cases that really need it.”
Australia: mounting pressure to prosecute foreign bribery cases
Since Australia’s anti-bribery legislation was enacted 16 years ago there have been no successful prosecutions for foreign bribery against individuals or companies. This has inevitably led to criticism from various quarters, including the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). In the past year, Australia’s senate was forced to review the country’s anti-corruption legislation to determine why it has been so difficult for the Australian Federal Police (AFP), who are responsible for anti-corruption enforcement, to bring successful foreign bribery cases.
In June, the senate sought submissions on how to reform the country’s anti-corruption laws and a number of organisations were only too happy to answer the call, including the International Bar Association (IBA), Transparency International and the Law Council of Australia. In separate submissions, all three criticised the country’s low level of foreign bribery enforcement. In August, the Law Council of Australia said the country’s foreign bribery enforcement track record was “poor”.
The Law Council of Australia was also scathing of the AFP, stating that there are “insufficient specialist skills” within the authority to deal with foreign bribery cases.
Both the IBA and the Law Council of Australia said that the Australian Securities and Investment Commission (ASIC), which currently investigates books and records violations, should replace the AFP as the lead agency in foreign bribery cases.
With all these criticisms, pressure has fallen on the AFP to prove that it is able to successfully prosecute foreign bribery cases. In August, the head of AFP’S fraud and anti-corruption centre, Linda Champion, said in an interview with The Sydney Morning Heraldthat the authority is stepping up its foreign bribery enforcement with a “good handful” of prosecutions in the pipeline. The AFP has since said that it is investigating 15 foreign bribery cases but declined to reveal which companies or individuals.
Robert Wyld at Johnson Winter & Slattery in Sydney said that the AFP will be under pressure to successfully prosecute its first foreign bribery case in the coming year because of pressure from the Senate submissions. In particular, Wyld pointed out the criticism levelled at the AFP’s experience and the suggestion that ASIC should replace it as the lead foreign bribery agency.
Wyld also said that overall, even among agencies other than the AFP, there will be a greater emphasis on enforcement.
In January, Paul Jevtovic, the chief executive of Australia’s anti-money laundering and terrorism financing authority, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (Austrac) said he will “show no mercy” to banks who violate the law in an interview with the Australian Financial Review.
The senate’s report on Australia’s foreign bribery laws is due in July 2016 and Wyld, who is the senior vice-chair of the IBA’s anti-corruption committee, said that he expects that Australia’s foreign bribery laws will be reformed.
Growing calls for Canadian government to introduce DPAs
In the past year, Canada has reformed old procurement rules that automatically banned companies found guilty of certain offences – such as foreign bribery and money laundering, from bidding on government contracts for 10 years.
New rules introduced in July halve the debarment period for companies convicted of such offences from 10 years to five years. Lawyers welcomed the development but said that introducing DPAs into Canada would provide the best incentive for companies to self-disclose wrongdoing to authorities early.
Canadian engineering company SNC-Lavalin, which was accused in February 2015 of bribing Libyan officials C$58 million in exchange for lucrative contracts, welcomed the new rules but said DPAs should be introduced in Canada.
SNC-Lavalin is set for a trial this year over the charges. If convicted, it will be barred from bidding on government contracts for five years. The company relies on government contracts for its revenue.
This is not the first time that lawyers have suggested that DPAs be introduced in Canada but previously it has seemed an unlikely development.
In an interview with GIR in 2014, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) assistant commissioner Gilles Michaud said DPAs are not an option in Canada.
But now that Canada has a new Liberal government, lawyers tell GIR, the issue is likely to be revisited in 2016.
John Boscariol at McCarthy Tétrault in Toronto said: “Canada’s lack of DPA/NPA [non-prosecution agreements] mechanisms will continue to present challenges in internal investigations and disclosures, particularly where they also involve other jurisdictions that have these mechanisms such as the UK and US.
“Watch for increasing pressure on government from business community to fix this.”
Boscariol said that the challenge for internal investigations that span both Canada and the US is the decision of whether or not to self-disclose. He said that whereas in the US companies are encouraged to self-report wrongdoing, the consequences of doing so in Canada, without the benefit of DPAs or NPAs, is unclear.
“The RCMP often say that there will be recognition of a voluntary disclosure in the ultimate penalty but there is no way a conviction can be avoided under the present system if a penalty in any amount is to be imposed,” Boscariol said. “If you disclose to US authorities, you must assume that information will become known to Canadian authorities, so you are in effect forced to disclose to them as well but without predictability regarding conviction and penalties.”
France to increase anti-corruption enforcement
France has yet to successfully prosecute a foreign bribery case – perhaps surprising given it is a G8 country and a signee to the OECD anti-bribery convention. In a 2014 report the OECD said France had “limited enforcement” compared to other G8 countries, including the US, Germany and the UK.
The US Department of Justice, in fact, has the most success in prosecuting foreign bribery cases against French companies. Scalps include Alstom, Technip and Total, which have received some of the largest FCPA penalties ever in the US. On 13 November Alstom was fined US$722 million for violating the FCPA’s books and records provisions by failing to implement adequate internal controls. Alstom pleaded guilty to the offences in December 2014. Its Swiss subsidiary also pleaded guilty at the same time to conspiracy to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA. Further to this, two of Alstom’s US subsidiaries, Alstom Power and Alstom Grid, entered into deferred prosecution agreements with the DoJ and admitted they conspired to violate the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA.
In an interview with GIR, France’s top prosecutor Éliane Houlette said that one of the reasons France has yet to successfully prosecute a case is that the country’s current laws are particularly “demanding” on prosecutors.
“For this reason, we are thinking about how we could change France’s legislation and/or our practice to be more efficient in this area,” she said.
Christian Dagan at Norton Rose Fullbright in Paris said: “France has been under high pressure to prosecute efficiently corruption of foreign public agents. French authorities have reaffirmed their will to do so and a number of bills of law, in particular one prepared by the Minister of Economy Michel Sapin, should be issued in early 2016.”
Dagan said this is likely to mean an increase in the number of corruption cases in the coming year.
On 22 July 2015, France’s finance minister presented an outline of the bill, which proposed the introduction of a new anti-corruption authority, to the cabinet. The new bill, which will impose tougher administrative sanctions against companies found guilty of corruption, will be voted on in early 2016. According to Le Monde, the bill will also introduce a French legal equivalent of monitorships.
UK corporate criminal liability issue to be revisited
The SFO has long been in favour of government plans to expand section 7 of the UK Bribery Act (UKBA), which holds companies liable for failing to prevent bribery, to all economic crimes including fraud and money-laundering. However, the UK government abandoned plans to introduce a general corporate offence of failure to prevent economic crime in September.
Currently, for a company to be held criminally liable for economic crimes prosecutors must prove that the directing mind of the company, namely its senior executives, participated in the wrongdoing.
On 28 September, Andrew Selous, the UK’s junior justice minister, said the UK will not reform the country’s corporate criminal liability laws because there is “little evidence of corporate wrongdoing going unpunished in the UK”, and because no prosecutions had been brought under section 7 of the UKBA.
In the last two months of 2015, however, Sweett Group pleaded guilty to violating section 7 of the UKBA, the first DPA was brought under that section with ICBC Standard Bank, and the phone hacking case against News Corporation was dropped because prosecutors were unable to prove that a controlling mind of the company participated in the hacking.
The UK’s shadow attorney general, Catherine McKinnell, announced on 16 December that she has written to her counterpart in government calling for a “full and transparent” review on corporate criminal liability. Though she resigned from the shadow cabinet in January, David Green, the SFO’s director, said in an interview with the Evening Standardnewspaper in January that the UK needs to reform its corporate criminal liability laws. In particular, Green said that the country should introduce US-style corporate criminal liability to improve “public confidence” in the authority’s ability to tackle crime.
In the US, companies are held criminally liable for the wrongdoing of their employees, whereas in the UK, with the exception of bribery, prosecutors must prove that an economic crime was committed by a company’s senior executives.
Satindar Dogra at Linklaters in London said that extending corporate criminal liability to cover all economic crimes may be on the UK government’s agenda next year.
Companies under investigation face heightened risk of violating EU data laws
In the past year the EU has become increasingly aggressive in protecting its citizens’ data, a fact that has wide ramifications for companies who are conducting internal investigations or which are under investigation by US government agencies.
Back in October, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) struck down a transatlantic data-sharing agreement, “Safe Harbour”, that allowed US companies to move personal data to and from the EU for multiple purposes including investigations.
According to the Yates Memo issued in September, the DoJ requires companies under investigation to hand over all evidence regarding culpable individuals. Before Safe Harbour was struck down, companies with offices in the EU and US were able, through the agreement, to comply with DoJ and other authorities requests while at the same time complying with EU data privacy laws. Now, such companies under investigation face a tough decision when trying to balance US enforcement demands and EU data laws.
In May 2015, the DoJ made its position clear, when the DoJ’s deputy attorney general Leslie Caldwell said: “We recognize that some foreign data privacy laws may limit or prohibit the disclosure of certain types of data or information. Over the years, the criminal division has developed an understanding of certain oft-cited data privacy laws, and we will challenge what we perceive to be unfounded reliance on these laws to justify withholding requested information.”
Lawyers told GIR that the absence of Safe Harbour means companies must start looking at other ways to legally move data across the Atlantic, but the alternatives, including binding corporate agreements – internal agreements within a company group that comply with EU laws – are costly. The European Commission is currently in talks for another Safe Harbour Agreement that is likely to be agreed in 2016.
Meanwhile, on 15 December, the EU passed a regulation that says companies may be fined up to 4 per cent of their annual turnover if they breach data protection laws. At the time, lawyers told GIR that there is likely to be an increase in government enforcement of the new rules, which are clear and standardised across the EU. Though the regulation will come into force in two years, companies are likely to pay attention to their compliance programmes much sooner.
Toby Duthie at Forensic Risk Alliance in London said: “The decision to invalidate Safe Harbour and the new EU data regulation shows that EU data protection laws will be something that companies and investigators will focus on in 2016.”
Global focus on tightening money-laundering and terrorism financing laws
Following the Paris terrorist attacks in November, France’s finance minister Michel Sapin proposed a bill to give Tracfin, the country’s anti-money laundering agency, the ability to track the bank accounts of up to 10,000 individuals who are suspected of terrorism or other criminal activity. Currently, only the French intelligence services can access this information. The bill, which is part of wider plans to combat money-laundering and terrorism, will go before Parliament in January.
Further to this, France’s Tracfin issued new money-laundering guidelines on 13 November that requires financial institutions to keep up-to-date profiles of their regular and non-regular customers and inform Tracfin of any atypical transactions in suspicious activity reports (SARs).
Peter Spivack at Hogan Lovells in Washington DC said that given the threat of terrorist attacks he expects the US to follow France’s footsteps and focus on reforming its anti-money laundering and terrorism finance rules.
“There will be a considerable emphasis on corruption cases and on money-laundering cases with potential terrorism connections given the spike in attacks in Europe and in the US,” Spivack said. “While the US has not passed new anti-money laundering and terrorism financing laws, financial institutions will be expected to fulfil know-your-customer obligations and file SARs to ensure this doesn’t happen.”
Indeed, on 17 December the UN Security Council member’s finance ministers debated a new resolution calling for tougher measures to cut off funding to the terrorist group Isis.
In December, a new bill was introduced in the US that will target individuals at financial institutions responsible for money-laundering. The legislation looks to strengthen the government’s ability to prosecute individuals who break anti-money laundering and terrorist financing rules.
Other countries will also focus on anti-money laundering in the next year.
In January, Switzerland’s new money-laundering rules came into force. The new rules amend the Swiss Criminal Code and make tax fraud a predicate crime for money laundering. The new rules mean that banks must report suspicions of tax evasion to Switzerland’s Money Laundering Reporting Office Switzerland (MROS) if a customer tries to transfer more than 300,000 Swiss francs. If they fail to report, banks can face a fine of up to 500,000 Swiss francs.
Both France’s guidelines and the Swiss money-laundering rules require companies to report suspicious transactions regularly. But importantly, the reports filed with Tracfin in France and with the MROS in Switzerland can be accessed by other agencies. In France, Tracfin passes on SARs to France’s public prosecutor and in Switzerland the reports filed with the MROS can be accessed by Switzerland’s Attorney General’s Office.
In the US, SARs filed with US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) can be accessed by law enforcement agencies including the DoJ, FBI or the Attorney General’s Office.
Much the same structure operates in the UK where SARs are filed with the National Crime Agency (NCA). These SARs can be accessed by the SFO which can then choose to pursue criminal proceedings against companies and individuals. Previously, lawyers told GIR that companies face a dilemma when filing SARs because the information can be accessed by the SFO. Companies in such a situation must then consider whether or not to self-report to the SFO before filing a SAR with the NCA so that it be seen as cooperative. Cooperation for companies can mean receiving credit, which can include DPAs.
Notably, Jones Day, the law firm ICBC Standard Bank hired in 2013 to carry out an internal investigation, submitted a SAR with the NCA’s predecessor the Serious Organised Crime Agency, a few days before it reported the misconduct to the SFO. Judge Leveson, who oversaw the authority’s first DPA with the bank, said that cited the bank’s cooperation with the SFO as one of the reasons he was approving the settlement.