Deferred Prosecution Agreements (DPAs) and equivalent agreement mechanisms are alternative enforcement tools to prosecution that may be available to businesses depending on the jurisdiction in which they operate. Countries that currently have DPAs or equivalent schemes include the UK, US and Canada. This collection of resources includes foreign cases that were resolved through DPAs or equivalent schemes. These cases highlight the importance of genuine and proactive cooperation with law enforcement for businesses wanting to enter into a DPA. These resources also illustrate the benefits available for businesses that enter into DPAs and equivalent schemes. The Australian Government has proposed the introduction of an Australian DPA scheme set out in the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Combatting Corporate Crime) Bill 2019. If introduced, this scheme would allow the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions (CDPP) to enter into a DPA with a corporation for certain offences including foreign bribery.
Under the Government’s proposed deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) scheme, companies that cooperate with authorities can be invited to enter a DPA for foreign bribery and related offences. If a company complies with the DPA, it will not be convicted. This draft code of practice sets out the expectations of authorities for companies that wish to enter a DPA.
This legislation proposes to strengthen Australia’s enforcement response to foreign bribery. It will introduce a new corporate offence for failure to prevent an associate (such as an employee, agent or subsidiary) from bribing a foreign public official and introduces a Commonwealth deferred prosecution agreement scheme for specified corporate offences related to bribery and other financial crimes.
In 2015 Standard Bank PLC entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with the Serious Fraud Office in the United Kingdom to pay penalties of over US$25 million and US$7 million of compensation in connection with its role in an equity raising in Tanzania. The case highlights the risks of using agents to help win government contracts.
In 2019 the Serious Fraud Office in the United Kingdom (UK) entered into a deferred prosecution agreement with a small UK resources sector company concerning bribery in South Korea. The company was required to disgorge its profits from the bribery but did not receive a penalty because of its small size and the fact that it had thoroughly investigated and self-reported the issues.
In 2016, Rolls Royce agreed to pay a fine of over £500 million in a deferred prosecution agreement relating to bribery in China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nigeria, Russia and Thailand. Rolls Royce received significant discounts in penalties for cooperating with the Serious Fraud Office in the investigation and implementing strong anti-bribery policies and procedures after the misconduct was uncovered.
In January 2020, Airbus entered into a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) which included a fine of €991m in the United Kingdom (UK), as part of a total €3.6bn settlement across France, the UK and the United States for five counts of failure to prevent bribery. The conduct took place across Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Indonesia, Taiwan and Ghana between 2011 and 2015.