First big defeat for Osofsky as SFO fails in Tesco prosecution

First big defeat for Osofsky as SFO fails in Tesco prosecution

Newly-installed Serious Fraud Office (SFO) director Lisa Osofsky has suffered her first major setback, as the agency’s prosecution of two former Tesco executives was quashed this morning.

At Southwark Crown Court, Judge Sir John Royce instructed the jury to acquit John Scouler, formerly Tesco’s UK food commercial director, and Chris Bush, previously Tesco’s UK managing director. Both men had been prosecuted by the SFO on fraud and false accounting charges over a £250m profit overstatement by Tesco in 2014. Continue reading “First big defeat for Osofsky as SFO fails in Tesco prosecution”

Disputes Eye: ‘Draconian’ measures as SFO tackles privilege via the back door

Disputes Eye: ‘Draconian’ measures as SFO tackles privilege via the back door

Despite the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) opting in October not to pursue its much-publicised privilege appeal against ENRC any further, it is taking an increasingly hard-line approach in other ways.

Notably, the agency has come under scrutiny for its heavy-handed use of section 2 notices, an order compelling any individual or business to submit evidence or information. Failing to provide what the SFO wants can be punishable by up to six months’ imprisonment, a fine, or both. Continue reading “Disputes Eye: ‘Draconian’ measures as SFO tackles privilege via the back door”

Disputes round-up: SFO abandons privilege appeal as funder Burford raises £193m

Disputes round-up: SFO abandons privilege appeal as funder Burford raises £193m

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) has cut its losses after last month’s landmark Court of Appeal privilege judgment, opting not to appeal the decision.

In the case against the Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation (ENRC), the SFO was denied access to a series of documents that the mining giant claimed were protected by legal professional privilege (LPP).   Continue reading “Disputes round-up: SFO abandons privilege appeal as funder Burford raises £193m”

Practice Area Spotlight: Competition and regulatory – leading experts and high-profile cases

Practice Area Spotlight: Competition and regulatory – leading experts and high-profile cases

Business transactions regularly require a careful analysis from a competition law point of view. We at Prager Dreifuss have excellent expertise in advising and representing companies – small and large, local and global – as well as public entities in all aspects of competition law. With profound knowledge of Swiss and EU competition law, we regularly advise clients before the Swiss competition authorities, and frequently collaborate with foreign law firms in multi-jurisdictional cartel and merger proceedings, be it as team members or co-ordinators of international teams. Public procurement and state aid law also belong to our preferred areas of practice. Continue reading “Practice Area Spotlight: Competition and regulatory – leading experts and high-profile cases”

Welcome to the hurricane – Latam GCs struggle with corruption clampdown

Welcome to the hurricane – Latam GCs struggle with corruption clampdown

It has been a turbulent few years for many of those in the upper echelons of Brazilian politics and business. Around the world, headlines have been filled with salacious tales of corruption, perhaps most notably the bribery and kickback scandal emanating from state-backed oil giant Petrobras, embroiling many high-profile individuals and entities across the region.

Anti-corruption legislation and regulation enacted in the past five years – the so-called 2014 Clean Company Act, fully implemented in 2015 amid public unrest by the soon-to-be-impeached President Rousseff – has enabled Brazil to usher in a new era of compliance, the efficacy of which has left many in the business community reeling. The judge-led ‘Lava Jato’ (‘Carwash’) investigation, started in 2014, is perhaps the most recognisable herald of this new era. Continue reading “Welcome to the hurricane – Latam GCs struggle with corruption clampdown”

The new front

The new front

As expected – or feared – implementing the incoming General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is a mammoth task for some companies. ‘It is all-encompassing,’ says Karen Kerrigan, chief legal officer at equity crowdfunding firm Seedrs. ‘The advantage of being a small business is that you can involve all the other departments. Frankly, I would be terrified of GDPR if I was at a large business, because you have to take a much more decisive risk-based approach in terms of what you are physically able to look at. We were able to sit down with our development team, our marketing team and our investments team, and go through every single one of their activities and the service providers they were using.’

To say GDPR will have wide implications for in-house teams is an understatement. It is unlikely that there will be any client or any part of a client’s business that will remain unaffected by the EU regulation, which has a deadline for implementation of 25 May 2018. Continue reading “The new front”

Beware the Black Swan

Beware the Black Swan

Imagine the worst: within the last 72 hours, your company has been hit by a major crisis. There may have been serious damage to the community in which you operate. Your customers may have suffered, people’s livelihoods may have been destroyed, the environment may be irretrievably damaged. Some of your employees and contractors may be injured, or worse. Your investors will be livid, and the board looking to assign blame. By the end of the first week, chances are your organisation will be facing dozens of lawsuits, some set to become class actions over time.

At this early stage, you will realise that verifiable facts are few and far between. Opinions and rumours abound. You will have little or no idea of the extent of any physical or financial damage, or to what degree the organisation was complicit in the event. You do not even know which of your top team you can count on. Some of them may be implicated; others may be operationally inexperienced, unfamiliar with the political realities, or temperamentally unsuited to the new situation – filled with good intentions, but uncertain what role to play. Continue reading “Beware the Black Swan”

Latham swoops on Quinn Emanuel for high-profile financial regulatory hire Berman

Latham swoops on Quinn Emanuel for high-profile financial regulatory hire Berman

Latham & Watkins has appointed head of financial services and regulatory David Berman from Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan’s London office, returning to the firm for the recruit six months after hiringlitigation partner Martin Davies.

Berman only joined Quinn in January this year and was previously Macfarlanes head of financial services regulation and a partner for nearly eight years. In his early career, he was a managing director at an global investment bank where he held senior legal, compliance and regulatory roles. Continue reading “Latham swoops on Quinn Emanuel for high-profile financial regulatory hire Berman”