It is becoming more prevalent that external solicitors are being instructed by corporations to conduct internal investigations. There is pressure for businesses and other institutions to conduct and bear the costs of an internal investigation.
Some of the pressure on corporations stemmed from the introduction of the Bribery Act 2010 and more recently the Criminal Finances Act 2017. Within both of these acts there are failure to prevent offences, namely Failure to Prevent Bribery and Failure to Prevent Facilitation of Tax Evasion. The need for an internal investigation may arise out of civil/commercial litigation which your company has been party to, political pressure, social media, whistleblowers or regulatory authorities who may have independently uncovered an issue. It is imperative to assess whether any issue which is uncovered has an obligation to notify any relevant authorities. This will, in turn, impact the way in which the internal investigation is conducted. Areas of consideration for self-reporting include but are not limited to the following:
- Self-reporting to the SFO for Bribery and Corruption offences
- Making a suspicious activity report (‘SAR’) to the National Crime Agency (‘NCA’)
- Self-reporting to the FCA in line with the FCA handbook’s non-exhaustive list where a company is under an explicit duty to notify.
- Potential notification to other professional regulatory bodies for breaches of its code.
- No reporting to the regulatory and investigatory agencies required.
An internal investigation could be used to help avoid an investigation by an external government agency; these may include the SFO, FCA, Trading Standards, Environmental Agency, HSE, HMRC, amongst others. External investigations can be extremely disruptive to a business and its staff members. It can impact on the profitability of the company and potentially harm the reputation of the business.
How can we help?
- Conduct a full investigation into the procedures and protocols of the business that are in place.
- Acting as a conduit between the business and the regulators if required.
- Establishing whether there has been any breach of any regulations or criminal offences.
- Providing advice on how to deal with breaches of the law and/or amending procedures and protocols.
- Assessing whether there are any financial irregularities or fraud being committed which may be having a detrimental effect on the business i.e. fraudulent activity by staff members or other third parties.
Our lawyers are available 24/7 to assist you and provide legal advice. Contact London 020 3753 5352 or Manchester 0161 834 7284. Alternatively you can email email@example.com