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Rolls-Royce is due to pay £671 million in penalties after investigations into claims it paid bribes to land export contracts. The settlement means that the engineering giant will avoid being prosecuted by anti-corruption investigators in the UK, US and Brazil. Under the proposed deal, known as a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA), Rolls-Royce have agreed to pay £497m to the UK Serious Fraud Office, subject to approval by the High Court. Section 7 of the Bribery Act 2010 introduced the offence of the failure of a commercial organisation to prevent bribery.

However, a corporate entity may enter into a DPA which can halt investigations against it, subject to compliance with certain conditions. DPAs came into force in England and Wales in 2014 by s.45 and Sch. 17 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013. However, no formal steps have yet been taken to introduce DPAs to Northern Ireland. Whilst the introduction of DPAs does not appear imminent they would undoubtedly provide a helpful alternative to a lengthy and costly prosecution and for the meantime organisations in Northern Ireland should be wary that this option is not available to them.

If you require guidance or if you find yourself in the unfortunate position of having to answer charges of white collar crime we can help. For further advice and information please contact Michael May.

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