Last night Halsbury’s Law Exchange, in partnership with international law firm Eversheds, held its second panel discussion for 2012. The subject was combating bribery and corruption in a global business environment. The panel was chaired by Khawar Qureshi QC. Other panellists were Peter Binning of Corker Binning, Neill Blundell of Eversheds, Susannah Cogman of Herbert Smith LLP, Felicity Gerry of 36 Bedford Row, Ben Rose of Hickman and Rose, and Satnam Tumani of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO).
The event was introduced by the Solicitor General, Edward Garnier QC, who spoke of the current consultation for Deferred Prosecution Agreements (DPAs).
As expected, there was robust and lively debate about the entire process of prosecuting fraud, including whether the SFO had adequate resources, whether it should be targeting more than simply the high end of the corruption scale, whether DPAs were a suitable means of achieving justice, whether the sentencing regime was adequate, and what lessons could be learned from the way in which the United States deals with corporate corruption.
The Solicitor General was keen to emphasise that DPAs were an additional weapon, not a substitute for any existing method of combating crime. He also reiterated the government’s commitment to the SFO.
The event will be uploaded to Youtube in due course, and will be of interest to all who work in this area and indeed anyone engaged in international business.