Decline in the number of prosecutions as reports of white-collar crime rise

Figures provided by the Ministry of Justice, pursuant to a freedom of information request, display a decline in the number of white-collar crimes prosecuted in England and Wales in 2016.  There was, however, in the same year, a spike in the number of white-collar crimes reported, sparking questions over whether police forces and the Serious Fraud Office (‘SFO’) are adequately funded to effectively investigate and prosecute these offences.

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Serious Fraud Office under threat of closure

The Prime Minister has pledged to scrap the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) in her party’s manifesto.  This is a revival of her plans first disclosed in 2011 when she was Home Secretary but was forced to withdraw in 2014 following pressure from fellow Cabinet ministers, the former attorney-general Dominic Grieve and former justice secretary Ken Clarke in particular.  Mrs May wishes to incorporate the functions of the SFO into the National Crime Agency (NCA), the pledge in the manifesto states “We will strengthen Britain’s response to white collar crime by incorporating the Serious Fraud Office into the National Crime Agency, improving intelligence sharing and bolstering the investigation of serious fraud, money laundering and financial crime”.

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Leigh Day’s Iraq conduct in the firing line.

Three human rights lawyers from firm Leigh Day have appeared before the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal (SDT) accused of knowingly bringing false claims that British troops ‘mutilated, tortured and killed’ Iraqi civilians. Opening submissions from the Solicitor’s Regulation Authority (SRA) provide some very interesting insights.

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Serious Fraud Office Deferred Prosecution Agreement with Tesco approved

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) have entered into a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA) with Tesco Stores Ltd in relation to the overstating of profits in their 2014 accounts.  This DPA follows similar agreements between the SFO and Standard Bank and Rolls-Royce Plc.  The agreement was approved by the High Court on 10 April 2017 and makes provision for Tesco Stores Ltd to account for its conduct and compensate shareholders without facing the full extent of a criminal prosecution.

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Police to replace ‘insufficient evidence’ notification

Suspects in criminal investigations will no longer be told that they will not be prosecuted on the basis of ‘insufficient evidence’ the Home Office has announced. A consultation with the Police, Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the Attorney General’s Office took place following concerns raised that the current wording raises doubt on an individual’s innocence.

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Cyber-fraud piracy case thrown out

Brett Wilson LLP has successfully defended an individual at Nottingham Crown Court who had been charged with multiple counts of fraud and money laundering in relation to a number of websites which he owned and operated.

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