Ben Morgan, the joint head of Bribery and Corruption, Serious Fraud Office (SFO) recently spoke at the Annual Anti-Bribery & Corruption Forum in London. Morgan highlighted companies that have been prosecuted and investigated for bribery and corruption—most notably former UBS rogue trader, Tom Hayes, who received a 14- year custodial sentence.
“As you know, the LIBOR investigation continues, with the trial of the next tranche of some of the 13 charged individuals taking place in Southwark Crown Court as we speak,” said Morgan. “There is also another SFO trial taking place in Southwark at the moment…Three more begin in January, and the docket for the year ahead after that is well populated with SFO matters.”
He also mentioned five other cases which involved the conviction of individuals such as the senior executives of Innospec, Magnus Petersen in the Weavering Capital Hedge Fund fraud, who received a 13-year custodial sentence for his part in a fraud which cost investors over half a billion pounds.
Against this backdrop, Morgan asked the audience a familiar question that some employees ask before coming forward to the SFO “why engage at all?” His advice—in a nutshell: it’s best that individuals come to the SFO sooner rather than later.
“One thing I am absolutely certain of is that there are many examples of conduct that could be reported that those who know about it are sitting on, playing the odds game, reasoning that the SFO won't find out,” said Morgan. “We work extremely hard to develop intelligence leads concerning allegations of corruption, and if it is appropriate to do so, the first thing you might know about our interest is when we secure search warrants and turn up at your personal or business premises at dawn to execute them.”