18/01/24

Deferred Prosecution Agreement

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A Deferred Prosecution Agreement (‘DPA’) is an agreement between a Prosecutor at the Crown Prosecution Service (‘CPS’) or Serious Fraud Office (‘SFO’) with a company, partnership or unincorporated association, approved by the Court, as an appropriate alternative to prosecution when considered to be in the Public Interest.

A DPA is made pursuant to Part I of Schedule 17 Crime & Courts 2013.

On 5 December 2023, the CPS entered its first ever DPA with GVC Holdings plc, a global online sports betting and gaming business which had been under investigation for conduct relating to failure to prevent bribery, contrary to Section 7 of the Bribery Act 2010.

Sukhdip Randhawa of KANGS outlines the circumstances.

KANGS is highly regarded nationwide for representing clients facing complex multi-jurisdictional investigations and prosecutions for alleged offences involving bribery, corruption and financial misconduct.

Our Team is led by Hamraj Kang, recognised as a leading expert in defending financial crime investigations and one of only two solicitors nationally to be ranked as a ‘Star Individual’ for eight consecutive years in the leading law directory Chambers UK.

Other members of the Team are also ranked by Chambers UK as well as The Legal 500.

The Nature of a DPA | KANGS Serious Fraud Defence Solicitors

A DPA will only be considered in respect of specific criminal offences including conspiracy to defraud, money laundering, fraud and bribery and only the Director of the SFO and the Director of Public Prosecutions can authorise one.

Once it has been agreed that a DPA is appropriate, an application will be made to the Crown Court, and, at the Hearing, the Prosecutor will seek a declaration that:

  • entering into a DPA is likely to be in the interests of justice, and
  • the proposed terms of the DPA are fair, reasonable and proportionate.

If approved, the Court must make its declaration, including its reasoning, in open court.

Once in place, any breach of the terms of the DPA, will result in the matter being brought before the Court and, if the Court considers that a breach has occurred, the Company which entered the DPA could be prosecuted for the same conduct.

The Case in Focus | KANGS DPA Solicitors

The terms of the DPA are to last for a period of four years from the Court Order, unless it is terminated for any breach.

GVC Holdings agreed to:

  • pay a financial penalty and disgorgement of profit totalling £585m,
  • pay HMRC and CPS costs of £10m,
  • make a charitable payment of £20m,
  • comply with other obligations imposed under the DPA.

Upon this basis:

  • the Indictment is suspended for the agreed term of the DPA.
  • suspension of the proceedings can only be lifted on the application to the Crown Court by the CPS and no such application may be made at any time whilst the DPA is in force.
  • if the company complies with its obligations under the DPA, the CPS will discontinue the Prosecution and the DPA will expire.
  • the Court may allow the CPS to institute fresh proceedings if, during the course of the negotiations, the Company had provided inaccurate, misleading or incomplete information which it knew, or ought to have known, was inaccurate, misleading or incomplete.

How Can We Help? | KANGS Serious Fraud Offences Defence Solicitors

Negotiating a DPA requires a legal team with specialist knowledge and extensive experience given the complex legal issues involved.

The Team at KANGS enjoys an enviable proven track record developed by assisting many individuals and businesses facing complex multi-jurisdictional criminal investigation.

It is important for any corporate business or individual facing any situation which may have criminal implications to seek expert legal advice at the earliest possible stage to ensure the welfare and interests of those concerned are protected in the prevailing circumstances.

We welcome enquires by:

Telephone: 0333 370 4333

Email: info@kangssolicitors.co.uk

If you would appreciate some early expert and robust advice, please do not hesitate to contact our Team who will be happy to guide you.

Hamraj Kang

Hamraj Kang
Senior Partner

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John Veale

John Veale
Partner

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