David Green, Director of the UK's Serious Fraud Office, has had his contract extended by two years, through April 2018. Jeremy Wright QC MP, Attorney General for England and Wales, announced the extension earlier this week, crediting Green with leading a change in the SFO's approach to prosecuting cases and delivering the first UK Deferred Prosecution Agreement and the first convictions under the Bribery Act 2010.
Green joined the SFO in April 2012, following the four-year term of Richard Alderman. At that time, the future of the SFO was in jeopardy, with some speculating that the SFO would be merged into another law enforcement entity. Green said he would not have taken the job if head believed that, and that the "SFO … is and will remain a key crime fighting agency targeting top-end fraud, bribery and corruption.”
Green has led the SFO to refocus its efforts on "top-end fraud" rather than more minor concerns such as boiler-room scams or mortgage frauds. For example, shortly after he took over in 2012 and just prior to the beginning of the Summer Olympic Games in London, Green made it clear that his office had no interest in pursuing cases concerning corporate hospitality under the Bribery Act:
We are not interested in that sort of case. We are interested in hearing that a large company has mysteriously come second in bidding for a big contract. The sort of bribery we would be investigating would not be tickets to Wimbledon or bottles of champagne. We are not the “serious champagne office."
Although the SFO has still brought very few significant cases under the Bribery Act, it did achieve a flurry of "firsts" in late 2015. On Monday, November 30, the SFO announced that its first-ever Deferred Prosecution Agreement had been approved by the Southwark Crown Court. The DPA included a charge under section 7 of the Bribery Act 2010 (which requires companies to have "adequate procedures" in place to prevent bribery), which was also a first. Shortly thereafter, on December 3, 2015, the SFO announced that Sweett Group plc had admitted to an offense under Section 7 -- the first admission the SFO had secured to date for failure to prevent bribery.