SFO chief in vow to chase Russian fraud

City A.M. Reporter
RICHARD Alderman, director of the UK Serious Fraud Office (SFO), has told the Anglo-Russian business community that his organisation will actively seek to exercise new powers worldwide in the global fight against corruption.

Referring to new powers available to the SFO following the implementation of the Bribery Act in April 2011, Alderman told an event hosted by McGrigors, the UK law firm: “I shall have jurisdiction where a foreign corporation carries on a business in the UK and commits an act of bribery in a third country. This will be an offence even if the act of bribery has nothing to do with the UK business.”

Alderman signalled an increasing level of attention on the activities of Russia-based businesses. He indicated that working with foreign law enforcement agencies was, and would continue to be, an increasingly important area of the SFO’s work, saying: “We stand ready to help them in what they are doing in the fight against corruption in Russia.”

These views were echoed by Vadim Alexandrovich Yalovitsky, his approximate counterpart at the General Prosecutor’s Office, who told the delegates: “Given that a number of individuals prosecuted for such crimes are hiding beyond the reach of the jurisdiction of the Russian Federation, and that the ill gotten profits from crime are transferred abroad, we put a great deal of attention and energy into international cooperation on criminal matters”.

Alderman said that up until 18 months ago the SFO had no success in bringing cases involving corruption in overseas countries to court. “We are now in a very different position,” he said.

“At present I have no jurisdiction over foreign corporates who commit offences in other countries. That will change when the Bribery Act comes into force,” said Alderman.